Chris Cox Returns to Facebook in His Former Role as Chief Product Officer

Other C-suite changes were also announced at the company

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Chris Cox returned to the role of chief product officer at Facebook that he relinquished in March 2019, which he had left amid speculation of a disagreement with CEO Mark Zuckerberg over the company’s strategy shift to focus on private, encrypted messaging and communications services.

Cox said in a Facebook post that he contacted Zuckerberg awhile ago to express his interest in returning, and he will indeed do so on June 22.

In 2005, Cox was one of the first 15 developers to join the social network during its period of infancy. He ascended to the role of chief product officer in 2014, seen by many as the second most powerful figure in the company behind Zuckerberg.

Cox said he spent the rest of 2019 focusing on climate change initiatives and progressive political infrastructure to help support Democratic candidates in the upcoming U.S. elections as well as “playing with my reggae band and reconnecting with my family and kiddos.”

He added that when 2020 brought the public health crisis of Covid-19, the resulting economic crisis and the focus on racial injustice following the death of George Floyd, it spurred his resolve to help out. He was encouraged by Facebook’s progress on those big issues.

“Our most important decisions and products are ahead of us,” Cox wrote in his post. Zuckerberg welcomed Cox back with a Facebook post of his own.

In other news from Facebook’s C-suite, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg revealed in a Facebook post that chief diversity officer Maxine Williams will now report directly to her. Sandberg said the move came about during the review of Facebook’s structure and decision-making process, which Zuckerberg pledged late last week.

She explained in her post, “We are expanding Maxine’s role and putting diversity and inclusion at the heart of our management team discussions and processes—at the heart of all we do. She’ll participate in all of our regular information-sharing and decision-making meetings, helping us build more inclusive products and policies, as well as creating new ways for us to include the diverse perspectives of people at every level and in every function at Facebook.”

Sandberg added that Sandra Altiné, who joined the company as vice president of workforce diversity in January, will focus on increasing diversity and inclusion among employees. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.