SAN FRANCISCO — In a uncommon change to Fb’s prime ranks, Mike Schroepfer, the chief know-how officer and a longtime govt, plans to step down from his place subsequent yr, the corporate mentioned on Wednesday.
Mr. Schroepfer, 46, who has labored at Fb for greater than 13 years, plans to transition right into a newly created position as a senior fellow, which he mentioned would permit him to concentrate on actions outdoors the corporate. He mentioned he would spend extra time with household and on private philanthropic efforts whereas persevering with to recruit and develop technical expertise for Fb.
“It is a troublesome choice due to how a lot I really like Fb and the way excited I’m concerning the future we’re constructing collectively,” Mr. Schroepfer mentioned in a submit on his private Fb web page.
Aside from the departures of a number of prime executives in 2018, Mark Zuckerberg, Fb’s chief govt, has saved a good circle of lieutenants round him for years. Sheryl Sandberg, the chief working officer, has held her place since 2008.
Mr. Schroepfer’s departure was introduced as Fb faces intense scrutiny for points as assorted as poisonous speech, misinformation and privateness. The chief know-how officer, who has overseen the constructing of synthetic intelligence programs to establish and forestall violent and hateful posts from being seen on the social community, has been key to a few of its efforts to battle the issues.
“He has performed a essential position in virtually all the pieces we’ve accomplished,” Mr. Zuckerberg mentioned on Wednesday in an organization blog post.
Mr. Schroepfer shall be changed by Andrew Bosworth, one other longtime Fb worker and a detailed buddy of Mr. Zuckerberg’s. Mr. Bosworth, who is best recognized inside the corporate by his nickname, Boz, has labored in many various components of Fb, together with creating its promoting merchandise and constructing its digital actuality and video gadgets.
Mr. Schroepfer joined Fb as a vp of engineering in 2008, after leaving Mozilla, the free software program basis behind the favored Firefox internet browser. He was charged with increasing Fb’s technical expertise and its infrastructure throughout a interval of speedy development.
In 2013, Mr. Schroepfer was promoted to chief technical officer. He was requested to oversee the event of Fb’s synthetic intelligence and machine studying programs. The corporate has since developed instruments to robotically establish and take away problematic content material resembling posts providing the sale of medication or firearms.
That work turned more and more vital after the 2016 presidential election, when Fb was known as out for spreading disinformation and dangerous content material to American voters. Mr. Zuckerberg mentioned synthetic intelligence can be key to cleansing up Fb.
Mr. Schroepfer helped Fb recruit prime machine-learning specialists from universities internationally, in addition to from rivals like Google and Microsoft. Most of the firms started paying exorbitant sums to land as many A.I. specialists as potential.
Mr. Schroepfer additionally led the infrastructure atop which Fb rests, together with opening new information facilities and connecting packages and providers among the many firm’s so-called household of apps. That basis was essential when the coronavirus pandemic pushed folks indoors and onto their computer systems in growing numbers. Mr. Zuckerberg mentioned final yr that Fb was “simply making an attempt to preserve the lights on” as folks flocked to its platforms to go the time.
Some former workers mentioned they had been involved about Mr. Schroepfer’s departure as a result of he was extensively seen as one of many better-liked and approachable executives. He was additionally seen as a voice of cause as Fb navigated crises. Mr. Schroepfer typically held talks together with his engineering groups in which he had them vent their frustrations with damaging headlines, the previous workers mentioned.
“After I left FB earlier this month, many present workers requested me who may now finest be their ally on issues of societal import,” Samidh Chakrabarti, who led efforts to crack down on dangerous content material on Fb, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “Who was on my quick record each single time? Schrep. So that is certainly important.”
Sheera Frenkel contributed reporting.