By Alex Heath
Facebook has tapped three veteran executives to fill leadership roles at Instagram after the departure of the app’s two co-founders, Cheddar has learned.
In recent weeks, Facebook-owned Instagram quietly named new engineering, design, and communications chiefs, the company confirmed. All three executives each worked at Facebook for roughly eight years and served in similar roles at other parts of the company before joining Instagram’s ranks.
The new hires come as CEO Mark Zuckerberg is working to more closely integrate Facebook’s suite of apps, which includes Messenger and WhatsApp. For Instagram, the new executives help fill a leadership vacuum in the organization that was created by a string of departures and internal transfers to other parts of Facebook last year.
The new Instagram execs are:
Nam Nguyen, Head of Engineering. Nguyen fills the role left by ex-engineering chief James Everingham, who transferred to Facebook’s secretive blockchain group one year ago. Nguyen is one of Facebook’s most important engineering leaders, and he most recently led Facebook’s core engineering group. He’s been at Facebook since 2011.
Luke Woods, VP and Head of Design. Woods was previously head of design for the Facebook app and has been at Facebook since 2011. Instagram’s longtime head of design, Ian Spalter, is moving to Japan to lead the app’s first office in that country.
Elisabeth Diana, VP and Head of Communications. Diana was previously a Facebook corporate communications exec who has been with the company since 2011. She fills the role left vacant by Kristina Schake, who left a couple of months ago for a role in politics.
Instagram’s leadership ranks have undergone significant upheaval in the past year, culminating in the sudden departures of co-founders Kevin Systrom, CEO, and Mike Krieger, Chief Technology Officer, last September. Instagram had been allowed to operate independently from Facebook since the photo sharing app was acquired in 2012. But according to sources, CEO Zuckerberg began to exert more control over the app, which was ultimately the driving force behind Systrom and Krieger leaving.
After Systrom and Krieger left, Zuckerberg tapped longtime Facebook exec Adam Mosseri, who previously ran the News Feed, to lead Instagram. Mosseri then promoted Vishal Shah, the executive behind Instagram’s business and shopping products, to be Head of Product. Instagram is still looking for a Chief Operating Officer to replace Marnie Levine, who left the role last year to run global partnerships for all of Facebook.
While Instagram made no money in 2012, the app makes billions of dollars now and is expected to account for the majority of Facebook’s ad revenue growth by next year. Just this week, Facebook unveiled a slew of updates to Instagram, including more commerce capabilities for influencers and celebrities.