WhatsApp India head, Abhijit Bose, and Meta (earlier Facebook) India public policy head and former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, Rajiv Aggarwal stepped down from their roles on Tuesday, the tech giant said in a statement. The verticals will now be headed by former journalist and WhatsApp public policy head Shivnath Thukral.
The resignations came barely two weeks after Facebook India head Ajit Mohan stepped down.
“I want to thank Abhijit Bose for his tremendous contributions as our first Head of WhatsApp in India. His entrepreneurial drive helped our team deliver new services that have benefited millions of people and businesses. There is so much more WhatsApp can do for India and we’re excited to continue helping advance India’s digital transformation,” Will Cathcart, global head of WhatsApp said in a statement.
Bose, in a statement on social networking website LinkedIn, said that he had spent 4 years as WhatsApp’s first country head in India.“I’m so proud of what we have built. I’m also really excited about my next gig. I believe that the next 5 years will be transformational for India — with many of our current pre-IPO companies very quickly becoming the global leaders in their respective sectors. After a small break, I plan to rejoin the entrepreneurial world; you’ll see announcements on that shortly,” he said.
“It has been a tough week for all of our team at WhatsApp as we had to say Goodbyes to many amazing teammates last week. Amidst all of this, I just shared some news with our WhatsApp and India teams. It has been planned for a while, but given the events last week, we wanted to hold this back so we could focus on supporting those impacted last week.”
Meanwhile, the tech giant added that Aggarwal has decided to step down from his role at Meta to pursue another opportunity. “Over the last year, he has played an important role in leading our policy-led initiatives in areas such as user-safety, privacy and scaling up programs like GOAL to drive digital inclusion in the country. He has also been leading proactive engagement with critical policy and regulatory stakeholders. We are grateful for his contributions and wish him very best for the future,” the Meta statement added.
Aggarwal took over in September last year. The appointment came months after former Facebook India policy head Ankhi Das stepped down from her post in October last year, over a controversy that she reportedly opposed the enforcement of hate-speech rules against leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The company also announced the appointment of Shivnath Thukral as director, public policy for Meta in India. “Shivnath has been an integral part of our public policy team since 2017. In his new role, Shivnath will define and lead important policy development initiatives across our apps – Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp – in India. We remain committed to our users in India and will continue to contribute meaningfully to the regulatory process that will enable everyone to harness the full potential of India’s digital economy,” Manish Chopra, director, partnerships, India, Meta said.
The resignations came amid one of the biggest lay offs in the tech sector, with reports suggesting Meta is letting go of nearly 10,000 employees.