In what continues to be a terribly horrible week for Facebook in India, the social networking giant’s longstanding India head, Kirthiga Reddy has resigned from her post. She will be moving back to the US after a long, six year stint at that position.
Announcing her decision via a Facebook post, Reddy says,
I’m grateful to have two countries to call ‘home,’ have had this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and look forward to the next one, and have the opportunity to partner with each of you.
In a response to Reddy’s resignation, Facebook said in a comment to Guardian [emphasis my own],
Facebook said in a comment: “As she had planned for some time, Kirthiga Reddy is moving back to the US to work with the teams in headquarters. We are extremely proud of the work she has done to grow our global sales business in India.
During her time in India, Kirthiga was not involved in our Free Basic Services efforts.
What am I going to be doing? It will be business as-usual over the next 6-12 months. I am working closely with William Easton and Dan Neary as we search for my successor in India. I have also begun to explore new opportunities at Facebook back at Menlo Park.
As I do this, I continue to experience the same aha moments as I did in my first few weeks at Facebook — that our mission is so much bigger, the opportunities are so much larger, and each facebooker is so much more jaw-dropping-inspiring than one thinks possible.
This move comes after Facebook received one of the rarest and first of its kind public backlash globally, for its Free Basics program. The initiative, which was a clear violation of the basic principles of net neutrality, recently received a ban from telecom regulator TRAI, bringing in a rare but massive criticism for the otherwise clean image Facebook.
And to add on to that, board member Marc Andreessen posted some absurd comments relating India and colonialism, which not only did he take back, but had to ultimately issue a longform public apology for the same. And such was the impact of the negative PR Facebook received, that Mark Zuckerberg himself came up and distanced himself and the company from Andreessen’s comments.
The issue further aggravated for a while, when RCom — Facebook’s telecom partner for Free Basics in India, made the service paid. The social networking giant immediately responded, by completely pulling back Free Basics from India.