Politics

Facebook India Managing Director Steps Down

New Delhi: With the dust barely settling around net neutrality in India, the head of Facebook’s India operations has announced that she will step down from her job in the near future and will relocate to the United States.

In a Facebook post put out on Friday, Facebook India Managing Director Kirthiga Reddy points out that when she first moved out to India in order to set up and expand the social networking service’s reach within the country, she knew that she would return to the US eventually.

“When my family relocated to India, we knew that we would move back to the US some day. It’s a bittersweet moment to share that the return timeframe is coming up in the next 6-12 months. Our two daughters start high school and middle school this coming year— which serves as a natural transition point to make this move back,” she says in the post.

“I could not be more excited about where the Facebook business is in India, where we are going and what’s to come. Over the last six years, starting as the first employee for Facebook in India, I have had the privilege to be part of our amazing growth journey.”

While Ms. Reddy’s accomplishments are indeed deserving of applause, she has single-handedly set up Facebook’s corporate base and expanded the company’s user count,  her tenure comes to an end at a time when Facebook is currently the source of much negative media attention. The company’s Internet access initiative Free Basics has stirred up controversy, was widely criticized and was eventually banned by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India a few days ago.

It is unclear, however, at this point whether Ms. Reddy’s departure is linked to the fiasco surrounding Free Basics. According to her post, she plans on closely working with two top Facebook executives to search for her successor and continue to look for new opportunities back at Facebook’s headquarters in the US.

The negative press surrounding Free Basics and consequent brick-bats have not gotten to Ms. Reddy apparently. In her concluding lines, she obliquely refers to the controversy and writes: “Above all, it’s been about our mission: Give the people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. We have only just begun”.

Update: 8:53 AM, February 13th, 2016

In a statement to ReutersA Facebook company spokesperson has sought to distance Ms. Reddy from Free Basics by stating that she wasn’t involved in the roll-out of the service.

“As she had planned for some time, Kirthiga Reddy is moving back to the U.S. to work with the teams in Headquarters,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “During her time in India, Kirthiga was not involved in our Free Basic Services efforts.”

Featured image credit: Sarah Marshall/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

  • GLN Prasad

    She has played her part well and performed her duties more than any most capable person can do . Great achievement. It is not easy to survive in India with dirty politics. But she made a mark Wishing her all the best in new assignment.