Amid the ongoing controversy over WhatsApp strategy, the CEO of world’s largest messaging platform Jan Koum announced that he will be parting ways with the company. In an emotional Facebook post, Koum wrote, “I’m leaving at a time when people are using WhatsApp in more ways than I could have imagined. The team is stronger than ever and it’ll continue to do amazing things.” Sharing his plans, Koum said that he is taking some time off to do things. “I enjoy outside of technology, such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate frisbee.”
The Ukranian-American had co-founded WhatsApp in 2009 with Brian Acton. Five years later, the duo had sold it to Facebook for a massive $19 billion. Acton, who has already left WhatsApp, has turned into a major Facebook critic in recent times. With Koum’s exit, Facebook is under immense pressure to get things right.
WhatsApp business executive Neeraj Arora, a former Google corporate development manager who’s been with WhatsApp since 2011, has emerged as the leading contender to replace Koum. According to a TechCrunch report, Arora can replace Koum and may be sworn in as new CEO.
Here is all you need to know about him:
1. Arora is an IIT Delhi and Indian School of Business alumnus. If promoted, he will join the likes of Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen – other Indian origin CEOs who are leading their respective companies in the technology market.
2. After graduating from IIT, Neeraj Arora joined Accellion, a cloud solutions company, in 2000. He was one of the earliest engineers at the company, building pieces of the core technology.
3. He later joined ISB and graduated with an MBA in Finance and Strategy in 2006. He then joined Times Internet Limited where he worked for 18 months.
4. In 2007, he left for Google and handled acquisitions and strategic investments across products and geographies for the global giant. Going by his Linkedin profile, Neeraj Arora has helped in the acquisitions of Zagat, Dailydeal.de, Slide, Picnik, Cleversense, PittPatt and Talkbin.
5. He has been working for WhatsApp for seven years now and has also served as the board member for Paytm.
However, the job isn’t going to be an easy one for Neeraj Arora. With Jan Koum leaving WhatsApp at a time when Facebook has a huge sword of breach of trust hanging over its head, Arora will have to work hard to retain the trust of users.