Facebook’s newest high-profile departure is Neeraj Arora, who was the chief business officer at WhatsApp. On Monday, Arora announced that he is leaving the company, following the exit of WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum and Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger from Facebook.
The number of high-profile executives leaving the US-based social media giant continues to grow as the company faces tightened scrutiny at home and around the world. Arora has been one of the top ranked Indian executive at the social messaging startup since 2011 and is believed to have helped shape the record $19 billion acquisition by Facebook in 2014.
“It is time to move on, but I cannot be more proud of how WhatsApp continues to touch people in so many different ways every day. I am confident that WhatsApp will continue to be the simple, secure & trusted communication product for years to come,” Arora wrote in a Facebook post. He thanked WhatsApp co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton for their trust and added that he plans to take some time off to “recharge and spend time with family.”
Arora leaves the messaging company after Jan Koum, the other co-founder left the company seven months back. Acton left Facebook last year and has since criticized the social media giant for its data and privacy practice. Koum’s exit, in particular, raised concerns around the ethics of Facebook’s operating principles after a report came out stating that Mark Zuckerberg and other executives tried to undermine the importance of end-to-end encryption.
“WhatsApp is grateful for the dedication, focus, and outstanding work of our early leaders and team. We remain deeply committed to providing a way for people to communicate privately now and in the future,” a spokesperson for WhatsApp said in a statement.
Facebook recently appointed Chris Daniels as the CEO of WhatsApp but the exit of Arora raises new challenges for the platform. The social messaging startup acquired by Facebook for over $21 billion is looking for ways to monetize its platform without breaking encryption. On the other end, it is facing the ire of governments in countries like India and Brazil, where WhatsApp has been used to incite violence and mob lynchings.
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Arora joins Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe, who left Facebook over difference with Zuckerberg recently. The high-profile exits from Facebook now includes Alex Stamos, the former chief security officer, who left in August and co-founders of Instagram and Facebook.