Facebook picked up WhatsApp back in 2014 to the tune of $19 billion, and since then co-founder and former CEO Jan Koum has hung around his baby. He's even stuck to his values, remaining adamant that the acquisition by Facebook wouldn't result in a change of company principles. But four years later, it seems his time at WhatsApp is coming to an end. Koum has just revealed that he's leaving WhatsApp.
The announcement was made just earlier today via Jan Koum's personal Facebook, and the text is short enough to include in its entirety just below:
It's been almost a decade since Brian and I started WhatsApp, and it's been an amazing journey with some of the best people. But it is time for me to move on. I've been blessed to work with such an incredibly small team and see how a crazy amount of focus can produce an app used by so many people all over the world.
I'm leaving at a time when people are using WhatsApp in more ways than I could have imagined. The team is stronger than ever and it'll continue to do amazing things. I'm taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology, such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate frisbee. And I'll still be cheering WhatsApp on – just from the outside. Thanks to everyone who has made this journey possible
Mark Zuckerberg responded to the statement with his own comment on the post:
Jan: I will miss working so closely with you. I'm grateful for everything you've done to help connect the world, and for everything you've taught me, including about encryption and its ability to take power from centralized systems and put it back in people's hands. Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp.
The Washington Post is also reporting that the departure is connected to a disagreement behind how to use personal data and strategies that might weaken personal privacy, resulting in a "culture clash" between the founders. Koum will also allegedly be stepping down from Facebook's board of directors, which is a bit unusual.
His motivation is understandable. Working the same gig for a decade can be pretty tiring—at least, in tech circles. As a casual Porsche fan and one-time aspiring gearhead, I hope Koum all the best on his project cars. Maybe his next can be a 356 Speedster—he has the money, after all.
Mark Zuckerberg made a comment on the announcement, which was added to this post. References to The Washington Post's report, which contains additional information, were also added.