Bret Taylor Becomes Facebook's CTO

In what is a new role at Facebook, Bret Taylor has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Bret will report directly to Mark Zuckerberg and will not manage anybody. The full details were provided in a letter from Mark Zuckerberg to the company’s staff, as published on Techcrunch.

Bret helped run FriendFeed, which was eventually acquired by Facebook. I rank him among other leading “Developer Kings” in the Valley in that he is not only an extremely talented engineer but he’s also an effective communicator. The CTO position was previously held by Adam D’Angelo who left the company and created Quora. It looks like Mark Zuckerberg has successfully replaced one extremely talented software engineer with another one.

Below is the email sent my Mark Zuckerberg to the Facebook staff. One extremely interesting note is that “News Feed is the home page for more than 250 million people every day”. That means Facebook has already surpassed 500 million users, or that Facebook is surpassing their 50 percent daily engagement rate that they’ve widely circulated. The full memo is below:

Internal Email from Mark Zuckerberg

Hey everyone,

I have some good news to share with all of you. I’ve created a new role and have asked Bret Taylor to become our CTO.

Bret joined us almost a year ago as our director of platform products. Since then, he has played a key role in building many parts of our new platform, including social plugins, our new graph API and the Open Graph. Since f8, already more than 100,000 sites use social plugins and our new API has received lots of praise for its elegance and simplicity. In addition, Bret has helped shape my thinking on products, engineering and strategy in many ways.

Today, Bret has just a couple of direct reports and gets things done by being a helpful source of advice and positively influencing decisions on a number of products. I’ve been talking with him recently about how he could play a similar role working with a few other areas to help shape our direction as well. Since Bret engages both in technical and product issues, I decided that creating a new CTO position outside of both engineering and product was the best way to formalize this new role.

In this role, Bret will report to me and will not manage anyone else. The CTO role is not a management role. The roles of building and running the product, engineering and operations organizations aren’t changing at all here. If you would have gone to Schrep, Chris Cox or Heiliger for something in the past, you should still go to them now. (Although, to be honest, Schrep, Cox, Bret and I all sit in the same pod so you can pretty much grab any of us at the same time.)

Bret will stay focused on Platform, but this new role sets him up to help out more in other areas as well. The platform product management work Bret has been doing will continue to report to Cox and the product organization as he does this. One of the reasons we can make this change is because of the great work Mike Vernal has been doing to lead the engineering team. I’m highly confident in him to continue building out this organization.

When I look around product and engineering, there are so many unique things we’re building with very leveraged small teams right now. Platform is the foundation for an entire industry, and our team has about 30 engineers. News Feed is the home page for more than 250 million people every day, and our team has fewer than 15 engineers. Our search type ahead serves the same order of magnitude of queries as Google, and our team has fewer than 15 engineers. These are examples of transformative products that we’re going to build out over the next few years and I’m focused on making sure we build them out the right way.

If you have a moment, please join me in congratulating Bret on his new role. If you have questions about this or anything else, feel free to shoot me a note or come ask it at our next Open Q&A.


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