Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are leaving the company they created. Late Monday, the pair abruptly announced that they were stepping down as the chief executive and chief technical officer of the social network. Facebook, which found out about their decision yesterday, were blindsided by the announcement, sources familiar with the matter told.
In a statement, Systrom wrote, “We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again … We remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook in the coming years as we transition from leaders to two users in a billion.”
The @instagram journey is one I won't forget. It started by building simple products that solved universal problems. Now eight years we look back and are proud and grateful to have been part of that journey. Thank you to the entire community as we move on for now.
— Kevin S. (@kevin) September 25, 2018
Systrom and Krieger founded Instagram in 2010 and sold it to Facebook for $1 billion in 2012. As of this summer, Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users.
This isn’t the only recent exit of a high-profile founder of a company acquired by Facebook. Recently, the founders of WhatsApp, bought by Facebook in 2014, both left the company after reportedly clashing with Facebook executives over privacy issues.
It’s unclear what Systrom and Krieger plan to do next, or exactly why they decided to leave at this moment. It’s also unclear what the future of Instagram will be without its co-founders in place inside Facebook.
Apegeo has reached out to Instagram and Facebook for comment.
Here is Systrom’s statement in full:
Mike and I are grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six years with the Facebook team. We’ve grown from 13 people to over a thousand with offices around the world, all while building products used and loved by a community of over one billion. We’re now ready for our next chapter.
We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again. 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.
We remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook in the coming years as we transition from leaders to two users in a billion. We look forward to watching what these innovative and extraordinary companies do next.