Facebook is about to close an important chapter in its history. CNBC reports the social network's chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, is stepping down from his role after a total 13 years at the company. He'll move to a part-time position as Facebook's first Senior Fellow at some point in 2022, when he'll help foster talent and improve the development process. The move will let Schroepfer spend more time with his family and philanthropy, according to the CTO's social post.
Hardware lead Andrew "Boz" Bosworth will gradually replace Schroepfer as CTO in 2022. The departing executive made clear that his exit was voluntary — it was a "difficult decision" for someone still excited about Facebook's prospects, he said. Accordingly, company chief Mark Zuckerberg said Schroepfer played a "critical role" and was a "close friend."
Schroepfer first joined Facebook in 2008 as a vice president of engineering. He took the CTO position in 2013.
Bosworth's ascension makes sense for a company increasingly focused on hardware like smart glasses, VR headsets and Portal displays. It's not without some controversy, however. The soon-to-be CTO has authored controversial internal memos in the past, including a 2016 memo seemingly justifying growth at any cost and a 2020 write-up expressing reluctance to fact-check politicians. Boz later said he'd changed his views in response to critiques, but he wasn't exactly known for sensitivity to privacy and misinformation issues in the past.
Whatever the new CTO's current stance might be, it won't be surprising if Facebook shifts its technology priorities. Zuckerberg added that a "few other groups" will join Bosworth as part of the transition, helping Facebook develop its metaverse. While the social media giant is already focusing much of its attention on virtual spaces, they might take an even higher priority under Boz.