Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer, the man who oversees the the social giant's work in artificial intelligence, virtual reality and the blockchain, will step down next year after 13 years with the company; he will be replaced by longtime Facebook executive, Andrew Bosworth, will take over as CTO, Bloomberg reported citing an internal message on Wednesday from Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg
Schroepfer’s move - which comes on a day Facebook shares tumbled after the company warned Apple's privacy changes will have a bigger Q3 impact than it previously disclosed - marks the most significant departure from the company in years and follows the recent exits of several other top executives.
Schroepfer joined Facebook in 2008 and has been CTO since 2013, reporting directly to Zuckerberg. He sits atop many of Facebook’s most ambitious organizations -- including groups that the social network is depending on for future growth - such as engineering, infrastructure, augmented reality and VR, and the blockchain and finance unit. His desk sits next to Zuckerberg’s and operating chief Sheryl Sandberg’s at Facebook headquarters.
Schroepfer’s most central role has been his oversight of Facebook’s AI organization, which he helped build. That group develops the technology Facebook uses to automatically find and remove content that violates its policies, like nudity, hate speech and graphic violence.
According to Bloomberg, Schroepfer, 46, will continue to advise the company in a new part-time “senior fellow” role, helping with recruiting technical talent and developing the company’s artificial intelligence initiatives. “This new position will also create more space for me to dedicate time to my family and my personal philanthropic efforts while staying deeply connected to the company,” Schroepfer wrote in an internal post.
“Boz will continue leading Facebook Reality Labs and overseeing our work in augmented reality, virtual reality and more, and as part of this transition a few other groups will join Facebook Reality Labs over the next year as well,” Zuckerberg wrote to employees.
Before joining Facebook, Schroepfer worked for web browser maker Mozilla. A Stanford University graduate, he has become one of the most visible Facebook executives, often speaking at events and at Facebook’s own annual developer conference. He represented the social network at a hearing before the U.K. Parliament to discuss the company’s Cambridge Analytica data-sharing scandal in 2018.
He cuts a high profile internally as well, frequently appearing at companywide meetings, and is the executive sponsor for the internal “Women@ Facebook” employee group.
Schroepger's departure is the latest in a series of veteran executives leaving the company in recent months. Fidji Simo, the head of the company’s flagship social networking app, left in July to become CEO at Instacart Inc., and was joined there shortly after by Carolyn Everson, who was a Facebook vice president running its global business relationships with advertisers. Both women were at Facebook for more than 10 years.