Facebook is undergoing the biggest reorganization in the company’s history. Messenger, WhatsApp, and Facebook’s core app will get new leaders, while the company’s product and engineering organizations will be reorganized into three main divisions: the “Family of Apps” group, run by chief product officer Chris Cox, will include social apps Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp; the “New Platforms and Infrastructure” group, managed by CTO Mike Schroepfer, will cover AI, AR, VR, and blockchain tech; and the “Central Product Services” group, headed by VP of growth Javier Olivan, will handle shared features across products and apps, including advertising, analytics, and security.
The restructuring — initially announced internally to employees, and later confirmed publicly by the company — is “meant to improve executive communication and user privacy,” reports Recode, “but the changes also come as Facebook contends with the backlash from the U.S. presidential election, revelations of manipulation by the Russian government and the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a New Year’s resolution to fix the company, and he has recently suggested taking more responsibility for the global impact of Facebook’s platforms and tools. The new overhaul, which aims to streamline company efforts and improve communication between execs without slowing progress, is the first major step toward such a fix.
“Facebook now plans to organize its product and engineering teams under three new categories, grouping its biggest moneymaking services together and separating them from its moonshot technologies,” explains The New York Times.
“Facebook’s changes echo some of the moves that Google announced in 2015, when it said it was dividing its core online advertising business from the rest of its businesses and created a holding company structure with the parent name of Alphabet. The change was part of an effort to keep Google nimble and innovative.”
A number of execs are changing jobs as part of the restructuring. For example, WhatsApp will now be run by Chris Daniels, who was previously VP of Facebook’s Internet.org group. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom will continue to run Instagram, but Will Cathcart will take over Facebook’s core app.
As part of the “New Platforms and Infrastructure” group, Zuckerberg has created a new team focused on blockchain technology, to be run by David Marcus, who was previously in charge of the company’s standalone messaging app, Messenger. Head of product at Messenger, Stan Chudnovsky will manage the Messenger team moving forward. (Recode offers a thorough breakdown of new teams and executive shuffling.)
While the roles of top execs Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg will not be impacted during the changes, the company is appointing Jeff Zients as a new board member. Zients was director of the National Economic Council under President Obama.