WhatsApp’s India chief Abhijit Bose and Meta India Director of Public Policy Rajiv Aggarwal have decided to step down from their positions, the company announced on Tuesday. Shivnath Thukral, the current public policy director of WhatsApp India has been appointed director of public policy for all platforms owned by Meta India — Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
This development comes close on the heels of Meta laying off 11,000 employees worldwide, or about 13 per cent of its workforce, as it battles faltering revenue and broader tech industry woes. Earlier in the month, Meta India head Ajit Mohan had resigned to join rival Snap as president, Asia-Pacific.
However, Meta said the announcement was not related to previous developments. “Some key announcements are being made today; would like to emphasise and underscore that these are completely unrelated to the recent news cycles,” Meta India said. The company remains deeply committed to India as its priority, Meta India added.
“It has been a tough week for all of our team at WhatsApp as we had to say goodbyes to many amazing teammates last week. Amid all this, I just shared some news with our WhatsApp and India teams. It has been planned for a while, but given the events last week, we wanted to hold back so we could focus on supporting those impacted last week,” Abhijit Bose said in a social media post.
Bose added that he had joined WhatsApp India in January 2019, when there were three people on the team, no business plan, and a lot of headwinds.
“I want to thank Abhijit Bose for his tremendous contributions as our first head of WhatsApp in India. His entrepreneurial drive helped our team deliver new services that have benefited millions of people and businesses. There is so much more WhatsApp can do for India and we’re excited to continue helping advance India’s digital transformation.” said Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp.
Aggarwal, who worked as Meta India’s public policy chief since September 2021, also decided to quit Meta.
“Over the last year, he has played an important role in leading our policy-led initiatives in areas such as user-safety, privacy and scaling up programs like GOAL to drive digital inclusion in the country. He has also been leading proactive engagement with critical policy and regulatory stakeholders. We are grateful for his contributions and wish him the very best for the future,” said Manish Chopra, director of partnerships, India – Meta.
An IAS officer from the 1993 batch of UP cadre, Aggarwal had joined Meta after working as head of public policy for Uber India and South Asia.
“We are also announcing the appointment of Shivnath Thukral as our director, public policy for Meta in India. Shivnath has been an integral part of our public policy team since 2017. In his new role, Shivnath will define and lead important policy development initiatives across our apps — Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp — in India. We remain committed to our users in India and will continue to contribute meaningfully to the regulatory process that will enable everyone to harness the full potential of India’s digital economy,” Chopra said.
WhatsApp has over 487 million users in India, while there are over 15 million users on WhatsApp’s small business app. According to reports, WhatsApp Business’ India revenue may reach $1 billion next year. It recently rolled out its platform for Reliance JioMart — its first global initiative.
India is also one of the largest markets for Meta’s Instagram Reels and Facebook.