Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have reportedly resigned from the company.
The duo, who founded the company 2010 and sold it to Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion, told Facebook executives today that they were leaving the company, according to The New York Times.
The departures are a major blow to Facebook. Instagram, which has grown rapidly and is popular with the younger generation of users who are less interested in Facebook, has been a consistent beacon of good news for a company that has had more than a year of bad news.
Facebook has dealt with numerous external and internal crises, including concerns over how it handles user privacy and how it’s preparing for the upcoming 2018 election. Instagram, though, stayed largely out of way, and gave Facebook something positive to point to at the same time.
It’s not uncommon for founders to leave after selling their company. But Systrom and Krieger stayed longer than many would have guessed, and remained influential throughout their tenure. Systrom was the product visionary and was hands-on even after bringing in other product execs to do more of the day-to-day execution.
Krieger, meanwhile, was actively running Instagram’s engineering team, and was seen by many internally as the company’s “heart and soul.”
Facebook has yet to offer any comment about the departure.
Earlier this year, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum left the company he founded after disagreements with Facebook management over how to build WhatsApp’s business. One of Instagram’s great benefits all these years was that it operated largely independently (or at least it felt that way to employees).
Systrom and Krieger’s departure presumably means Instagram will be run primarily by Facebook executives, though Facebook’s influence over Instagram has started to increase in the past year, according to sources.
Another Instagram executive, COO Marne Levine, also left Instagram this month to take a bigger role at Facebook.