The co-founders of Facebook‘s photo-sharing app Instagram have resigned their positions and plan to leave the company in the coming weeks.
According to a new report from The New York Times, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom and Chief Technical Officer Mike Krieger notified Instagram and Facebook executives of their decision on Monday.
Systrom confirmed the resignations in a company blog post late Monday. “Mike and I are grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six years with the Facebook team,” Systrom said in the statement, adding they were “ready for our next chapter.”
“We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again,” Systrom wrote. “Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do.”
Finally, Systrom said they both “remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook,” adding that they’re now transitioning “from leaders to two users in a billion.”
Even as Systrom provided an official explanation for his and Krieger’s departure, that hasn’t stopped speculation that the timing may be the result of other issues.
Business Insider notes that the resignations come “following months of turmoil and scandals for Facebook, from Cambridge Analytica’s misappropriation of tens of millions of Facebook users’ data to sustained fallout from the spread of Russian propaganda during the 2016 election.”
It’s also interesting to note the duo’s departure at this time, as it follows numerous recent resignations from other top executives at Facebook. WhatsApp’s co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton have left the company, as did Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos. And last year, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey resigned amid legal tussles over whether he indeed invented the VR hardware he sold to Facebook.
Without the founders around, Instagram is likely to become more tightly integrated with Facebook, making it more of a product division within the larger company than an independent operation.
Instagram, which had become one of the most successful social media companies in the world under Systrom and Krieger, is seen as something of a saviour for Facebook, providing a steady source of growth as its original platform stumbled. The photo-sharing app now has more than one billion users.