September 26, 2018
Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the co-founders of the photo-sharing app Instagram, have resigned and plan to leave the social media platform in the coming weeks, according to a September 24 report by The New York Times.
The company, launched in 2010, has been a subsidiary of Facebook since 2012, when Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg acquired it for $1 billion in cash and stock. Since then, Instagram has grown substantially—with more than 1 billion monthly users now logging on to the image- and video-sharing giant.
Systrom and Krieger did not give a reason for stepping down, according to insiders with knowledge of the situation. In a public statement released late on September 24, Systrom said he and Krieger were “ready for our next chapter,” and hinted broadly that they would create another innovative business.
Zuckerberg praised the Instagram founders in a statement and said that he wished them “all the best and I’m looking forward to seeing what they build next.”
However, industry scuttlebutt supports the notion the Zuckerberg, himself, may be the reason for their departure. Based on a report by MSN, Systrom and Krieger, “had been able to keep the brand and product independent [for much of the past six years] while relying on Facebook’s infrastructure and resources to grow. Lately, they were frustrated with an uptick in day-to-day involvement by Zuckerberg, who has become more reliant on Instagram in planning for Facebook’s future, said [the insiders], who asked not to be identified sharing internal details.”
According to the Times report, Facebook has lost other founders of businesses it has acquired. In April, Jan Koum, a Facebook board member and a founder of WhatsApp, the messaging app that the social network purchased in 2014, said he was leaving. Koum had grown increasingly concerned about Facebook’s position on user data in recent years, people with knowledge of the situation said at the time.
In Silicon Valley, reaction to the Instagram founders’ resignation was swift, the Times reported.“Wow,” tweeted John Lilly, a venture capitalist at Greylock, calling the exits “a real moment.” He added, “What an impact they’ve had on all of us.”
The departures of the co-founders now create uncertainty at the company. It is unclear who will take the lead and if that person can continue Instagram’s longstanding success streak.
Marne Levine, who was previously Instagram’s COO, left her role at Instagram earlier this month to return to Facebook and lead partnerships, the Times noted.
Research contact: Mike.Isaac@nytimes.com