Notably, these high-level exits follow the exodus of WhatsApp founder Jan Koum in April, and Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger - co-founders of Instagram - in September, all amid rumours the Facebook "family of apps" would pursue some sort of messaging amalgam that would join its userbases on the aforementioned apps to those on Facebook Messenger.
"As Mark has outlined, we are turning a new page in our product direction, focused on an encrypted, interoperable, messaging network". In addition to being one of Facebook's earliest employees and a pivotal decision maker on core products like the News Feed, Cox was also widely assumed to be next in line should Mark Zuckerberg ever step away from his perch. Instead, the leaders of each app will report to Zuckerberg.
Cox informed the company of his intention to resign on Monday, according to a regulatory filing on Thursday.
Daniels had informed the company several months ago of his intention to leave and will stay on through a leadership transition, a person familiar with the matter said.
"At this point, we have made real progress on many issues and we have a clear plan for our apps, centered around making private messaging, stories and groups the foundation of the experience, including enabling encryption and interoperability across our services", Zuckerberg continued.
Fidji Simo will take over as the head of the Facebook app.
Cathcart and Simo worked closely to bring video uploading tools and professional video content to Facebook. Meanwhile, Javier Olivan will lead the effort to better integrate the Facebook apps.
Perhaps more than anyone else at Facebook - even more than COO Sheryl Sandberg - Cox was a sounding board for Zuckerberg on product ideas.
Daniels took the helm of WhatsApp after founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton left the messaging app a year ago, reportedly over disagreements about the increased integration of WhatsApp's operations with Facebook's.
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