Facebook chief technology officer (CTO) Mike Schroepfer has informed CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday of his intention to step down from the role.

Schroepfer detailed his decision to step down in a series of Twitter posts, and Mark Zuckerberg publicly thanked his outgoing CTO for the “extraordinary contributions to our community and our company over the last 13 years.”

Schroepfer will be replaced by Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, who is currently the head of Facebook’s hardware division.

CTO departure

In his announcement, Schroepfer confirmed he will be transitioning to a part-time role with the company in 2022.

“After 13 years at FB, I’ve decided to step down as CTO and pass the baton to @boztank at some point in 2022,” Schroepfer tweeted. “I will stay on as long as it takes to ensure a successful leadership transition.”

“My new role as Senior Fellow will enable me to stay deeply connected to the company, working on key initiatives including recruiting and developing technical talent and fostering our AI investments in critical technologies like @PyTorch,” he added.

“It has been a privilege to lead our technology teams during a time of incredible growth and advancement,” he tweeted. “I am proud of what the team has achieved, from unleashing the benefits of AI & bringing VR to life to connecting more people around the world through technology.”

“I am still incredibly optimistic about the potential for AI and AR/VR to improve the lives of people every day,” he concluded. “I am honoured to be able to continue to support Facebook’s exciting future in my role as Senior Fellow.

Thanks from Mark

Schroepfer’s decision drew a reaction from CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who in a blog post thanked his outgoing CTO for all his efforts.

“I want to take a moment to thank Schrep for his extraordinary contributions to our community and our company over the last 13 years,” wrote Zuckerberg. “He has played a critical role in almost everything we’ve done – from building and scaling our teams to mentoring many of our key leaders, and from helping us develop new technologies like AI and VR to operating our infrastructure and business services at global scale.”

“Schrep and I have had a close partnership over the years, and in addition to being a great leader, he’s also a great person and a close friend,” said Zuckerberg.

“As Schrep transitions out of the CTO role sometime next year, he will become Facebook’s first Senior Fellow,” he added. “In this new role, he will focus on helping us recruit and develop technical talent, improve how we build with projects like Move Fast, and continuing to foster our AI investments in technologies like PyTorch.”

“As our next CTO, Boz will continue leading Facebook Reality Labs and overseeing our work in augmented reality, virtual reality and more, and as part of this transition a few other groups will join Boz’s team as well,” he concluded. “This is all foundational to our broader efforts helping to build the metaverse, and I’m excited about the future of this work under Boz’s leadership.”

Eventful career

Under Schroepfer’s tenure, Facebook has rapidly grown its infrastructure and data centre capabilities in order to cope with the demand for its services, whilst at the same also overseeing the integration of notable acquisitions such as WhatsApp and Instagram into the Facebook family.

But perhaps his most noteworthy achievement (on this side of the pond) was controversially stepping in for Mark Zuckerberg to appear before a committee of MPs.

In 2018 Zuckerberg had famously declined to appear before the British parliamentary committee investigating questions about privacy and the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal.

British MPs were very unhappy that Zuckerberg decided instead to send his chief technical officer, Mike Schroepfer, to appear before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS).

Yet Zuckerberg did choose to appear before the European Parliament as well as US lawmakers.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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