One of Mark Zuckerberg's top lieutenants says he quit over 'artistic differences' with the Facebook CEO

facebook chris coxChris Cox and Mark Zuckerberg.Chris Cox/Facebook

  • Former Facebook executive Chris Cox told Yahoo that he left the company over "artistic differences" with CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  • Cox left Facebook in March after 13 years at the company.
  • His departure came after Zuckerberg announced his plans to merge the backend of Facebook's various messaging apps as part of a pivot to privacy.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Facebook's former head of product Chris Cox left the company because of "artistic differences" with Mark Zuckerberg, he told Yahoo Finance.

Cox left Facebook in March after 13 years at the company. Speaking to Yahoo, Cox declined to give any more details about his departure out of respect for CEO Zuckerberg.

"I respect and care about Mark so deeply that I would never really want to get into more detail than that," he said as part of a lengthy profile on his life and work at Facebook.

Yahoo said the "artistic differences" quip was said "half jokingly" by Cox. Three sources familiar with his thinking told the website that he had clashed with Zuckerberg over plans to radically reshape Facebook in a pivot to privacy.

Read more: A red flag in a Facebook exec's goodbye letter shows there's bad blood over Mark Zuckerberg's radical privacy plan

Zuckerberg announced plans in March to knit together the backends on Facebook's various messaging products to create one, end-to-end encrypted service.

His exit was one many at Facebook in recent months, with other departures including Instagram's founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.

Cox posted a public goodbye letter on his Facebook page following the announcement, in which he referred to this new privacy-oriented approach. "This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through," he wrote at the time.

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