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Monday, 14 May 2018 08:49

Facebook Faces Leadership Shuffle after Cambridge Analytica Scandal Featured

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Facebook has re-organized its ranks in the wake of user privacy issues that has been creating waves across all quarters. The social network’s misuse in the spread of Russian propaganda and disinformation and the more recent Cambridge Analytica scandal have made data privacy and security issues the foremost priority for the social media giant.  

Board Shuffles

Jan Koum, 41, CEO of WhatsApp stepped down from the board over significant disagreements over privacy issues. The company hired heavyweight and Senior Obama Advisor, Jeff Zients, 51. Earlier this year, the company also hired its first non-white director, former American Express CEO, Ken Chenault, 66. More details on the board shuffles are outlined below.

At the executive level, we saw changes with the CISO, the engineering and the communications organizations. 

The CISO’s Battle for More Aggressive Disclosures

Facebook's CISO Alex Stamos, 38, left the company after internal disagreements over how the company should handle its role in spreading disinformation, according to The New York Times. He advocated an aggressive approach to exploring and disclosing to the public the platform’s role in disseminating Russian state-sponsored disinformation to users. He was persuaded to assist until August in the transition of his duties, because executives thought that his departure would look bad. The development came after Facebook suspended the accounts of British company Strategic Communication Laboratories and its political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, as well as Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, for violating the platform's personal data policies.

The Engineers: Focus on Privacy, Security & GDPR and Forray into New Technologies

In addition to focusing on experts in Privacy, Security and GDPR (Data Privacy), the company is making forays into the future with emphasis on technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Augmented/Virtual Reality.

  • Under the new structure, the company is organized into three product areas: Family of Apps led by Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, 36, leads the base platform, messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram.
  • New Platforms and Infrastructure led by CTO Mike Schroepfer, 43, is in charge of Privacy and Data Security (with GDPR experts) and also leads the company’s initiatives into Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality and Blockchain.
  • Central Product Services led by VP of Growth Javier Olivan, 40, all three leaders directly reporting to the CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

No one is leaving Facebook in the engineering re-organization. A good deal of shuffling of the engineering executives, the details of which are outlined below.

Facebook’s Communications Beefed Up

Caryn Marooney is handing over day to day operations of Facebook communications to PR veteran Rachel Whetstone, 50. Marooney, will handle product communications and Whetstone is taking over corporate communications and was previously at uber and google. 

We are including more details below on the board and engineering shuffles, should you have the interest

Details on the Facebook Board Shuffle – Koum Resigns over Privacy Battles & Jeff Zients Adds Gravitas

WhatsApp’s outgoing CEO Jan Koum, 41, stepped down from the company’s board, following significant disagreements with Facebook management about WhatsApp user data privacy and weakened encryption, as reported by The Washington Post. Koum sold WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014 and became end-to-end encrypted in 2016, resisting calls from government agencies to build back doors. Facebook however pushed WhatsApp to change its terms of service to give the larger social network access to user’s information including phone numbers and allowed businesses to advertise to WhatsApp users.

Jeff Zients, 51, joins as a member of the Board. He is the current CEO of the Cranemere Group, a Berkshire Hathaway-style holding company focused on the acquisition and long-term ownership of mid-sized companies in the United States and Europe. Prior to Cranemere, Jeff served as the Director of President Obama’s National Economic Council. Jeff previously served as the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget and also was responsible for the technology turnaround of Before serving in Government, he was Chairman, CEO, and COO of the Advisory Board Company and Chairman of the Corporate Executive Board.

Former American Express CEO Ken Chenault, 66, who was also the company’s first nonwhite director, joined the board in January.

More Details on Facebook Engineering Shuffles

Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, 36, was previously in charge of the core Facebook app and is arguably the second most important executive after CEO Mark Zuckerburg. Under the new arrangement, Cox will be in-charge of all apps including - Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. These apps have new leaders assigned to them (except Instagram) reporting to Cox -

  • Will Cathcart will lead the Facebook core app. He has been at Facebook since 2008, joining from Google, and was responsible for Facebook’s profiles team.
  • Stan Chudnovsky, 46, who has been the Head of Product at Messenger, will lead the Messenger app and team.
  • Chris Daniels, VP of the company’s group, will lead WhatsApp and its team. Daniels has been with Facebook since 2011. He replaces WhatsApp’s outgoing CEO Jan Koum, 42. Koum also steps down from the company’s board.
  • Kevin Systrom, 34, Instagram’s CEO, will continue leading the app and its team. Adam Mosseri, VP, Product Management who runs Facebook’s News Feed, is headed over to Instagram to become its new VP of product.

Mike Schroepfer, who has been the CTO of the company since 2013, will be in-charge of the New Platforms and Infrastructure group which includes: Engineering, Infrastructure and Data Privacy; Artificial Intelligence; Augmented and Virtual Reality; and Blockchain. Execs reporting to him will be -

  • Jay Parikh, 45, VP of Engineering and Infrastructure, will also oversee a new product team focused on privacy products and initiatives. David Baser, Director, Product Management, who recently has been working on the company’s efforts to comply with Europe’s new GDPR privacy policies, will lead a new privacy product team that will include around 300 engineers and other product teams, and will be reporting to Jay Parikh. He will be helped by Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan, whose team will get involved with Baser and his product team in the initial stages of product development, rather than the current rule of reviewing products after they are developed to check if they conform to the privacy requirements.
  • Artificial Intelligence: VP of Artificial Intelligence Dr. Jerome Pesenti, who is IBM's former chief scientist for big data, will continue leading Artificial Intelligence team. He joined Facebook in January 2018.
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality: Andrew Bosworth, 35, continues to be in-charge of Augmented and Virtual Reality as well as Hardware teams, which he took over in August 2017. Before that, he served as the company’s VP of ads and business platform.
  • Blockchain Technology: Facebook Messenger boss David Marcus, 44, will take over a new internal team dedicated to exploring blockchain technology.  Instagram execs are also joining his blockchain team: Instagram’s VP of Engineering, James Everingham, and Instagram’s VP of Product, Kevin Weil. 

Central Product Services lead is Javier Olivan and includes ads, analytics, integrity, growth, and product management. Olivan joined Facebook as Head of International Growth in 2007. He was most recently VP of Growth, Engagement and Mobile Adoption

  • Naomi Gleit, VP of Social Good and Senior Director of the Growth, Engagement, and Mobile Team, will lead Integrity, Growth and Product Management, reporting to Olivan. Gleit joined Facebook in 2005.
  • Alex Schultz, who leads growth, marketing, data analytics (data science & data engineering) will be the Head of Analytics.
  • VP Ads & Business Platform Mark Rabkin will continue leading Ads, reporting to Olivan.

Date: May 14, 2018

Read 1369 times Last modified on Tuesday, 08 September 2020 16:29
Dora Vell

Dora Vell is the Managing Partner of Vell Executive Search, a boutique executive search firm in Boston focused on recruiting technology executives and board members. Vell has successfully completed numerous board member and C-level executive searches, including CEOs, COOs, CIOs, and Vice Presidents - at both public and private companies.

Prior to founding the firm in 2005, Vell was a Partner at Heidrick & Struggles' Technology practice for seven years.  Before her career in executive search, she worked at IBM for 11 years, managing software engineering organizations of 100 people and software sales organizations with revenues of $150 million. She has also served as an executive assistant to the CEO of IBM Canada for one year.

Vell holds seven worldwide software patents. She has published several Business of Leadership reports on governance and leadership and has been quoted in numerous articles including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week, Fortune, Agenda Week, MSNBC, Mass High Tech, the OPUS for the World Economic Forum, Boston Business Journal, The Globe & Mail, CIO Magazine, and IEEE. She also has been a featured speaker on leadership at numerous conferences and at Columbia University's MBA program.

Vell is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the Boston CEO Roundtable. She has served on the boards of Framingham State, Entrepreneur's Organization, Goodwill, Mary Centre for developmentally handicapped adults,, and RBC Capital Partners.

She has received an MBA from the University of Toronto, a Master in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, and a Bachelor in Computer Science from Carleton. She has also completed the MIT Entrepreneurial Master’s program.

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