Instagram’s co-founders are headed for the exit, perhaps signalling more trouble for Facebook, which owns the photo-sharing app
Kevin Systrom, Instagram chief executive, and Mike Krieger, its chief technology officer, have resigned and plan to leave in the coming weeks. The New York Times was first to report the move on Monday, which the company later confirmed. In a statement, Systrom said he and Krieger are “grateful” for their time at Instagram but are “ready for our next chapter.”
Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion (about £760 million, AU$1.4 billion) in 2012, two years after it was founded. At the time, Zuckerberg confirmed that Instagram would continue to develop as a standalone service and exist independently, but it seems that wasn’t enough to keep Krieger and Systrom on board.
“Kevin and Mike are extraordinary product leaders and Instagram reflects their combined creative talents,” Zuckerberg said in a statement following the pair’s departure. “I’ve learned a lot working with them for the past six years and have really enjoyed it.”
Here’s Systrom’s full statement according to the blog post:
Mike and I are grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six years with the Facebook team. We’ve grown from 13 people to over a thousand with offices around the world, all while building products used and loved by a community of over one billion. We’re now ready for our next chapter.
We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again. Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do.
We remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook in the coming years as we transition from leaders to two users in a billion. We look forward to watching what these innovative and extraordinary companies do next.
Systrom’s statement suggests an amicable departure, but anonymous sources have told Bloomberg that their decision stemmed from tensions with Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who had become more reliant on Instagram as part of his future plans.
It’s a major blow to Instagram owner Facebook, as the company continues to lose top executives during a year of scandal and declining community support. Instagram had become something of Facebook’s shining star — avoiding the privacy concerns that have plagued the core platform and claiming the youngest users who are increasingly leaving Facebook.