Instagram suddenly lost its co-founders last week. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger were also the company’s CEO and chief technology officer, respectively, and so their unexpected departure left two gaping holes at the top of the Facebook-owned business.
The position of CEO, at least, has been filled, with Facebook veteran Adam Mosseri taking over from Systrom as “Head of Instagram” with immediate effect. The title change suggests Instagram’s top team may lose some of the autonomy it enjoyed since being acquired by Facebook in 2012, giving Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and company more control over the direction the app takes from here on in.
Mosseri joined Facebook in 2008 and in recent years ran the social networking site’s news feed before moving to Instagram as vice president of product in May 2018. In a post on the very app that he’ll now work to shape, Instagram’s new boss said he was “humbled and excited” to take on the role.
In a message from Systrom and Krieger posted online on Monday, the pair described Mosseri as having “a strong design background and a focus on craft and simplicity — as well as a deep understanding of the importance of community,” in other words, a good match for “the values and principles that have been essential to us at Instagram since the day we started.”
In his new role as Instagram chief, Mosseri will oversee all functions of the business and hire a brand new executive team that will include a head of engineering, head of product, and head of operations.
When Instagram’s co-founders announced last week that they were leaving the company, the pair gave little away as to why they were going, saying only that they were planning on taking some time off “to explore our curiosity and creativity again.” Reports surfaced, however, that Systrom and Krieger had become frustrated with efforts by Zuckerberg to exert more control over of Instagram as the company seeks to increase revenue and expand its user base of more than a billion users.
Instagram has largely escaped much of the negative publicity that’s hit other social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in recent years. We’ll have to wait and see whether the departure of the two people that built and ran the popular photo-sharing app ends up having any bearing on that.