SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook Inc.'s chief technology officer, Bret Taylor, is leaving the Menlo Park, Calif., company, the first major defection since its disappointing debut on the public markets last month.
Rumblings that Taylor would leave Facebook began circulating in Silicon Valley last month around the time of the initial public stock offering.
"I've really enjoyed working with Bret and getting to know him as a friend and teammate," Facebook founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in an emailed statement. "I'm grateful for all he has done for Facebook and I'm proud of what he and his teams have built."
Taylor, a former Google employee who has been Facebook's chief technology officer for two years, said he was leaving Facebook to work on a new start-up with Kevin Gibbs, a Google engineer.
"While a transition like this is never easy, I'm extremely confident in the teams and leadership we have in place," Taylor wrote in an update on his Facebook page.
Taylor ran two of Facebook's most important initiatives: its platform and mobile efforts. Facebook executive Mike Vernal will take over platform, and Facebook executive Cory Ondrejka will take over mobile.
Taylor joined Facebook in August 2009 when Zuckerberg's company bought his social network FriendFeed. FriendFeed co-founder Paul Buchheit left Facebook in 2010.
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said Taylor's departure was unlikely to cause Facebook much heartburn. Zuckerberg calls the shots on products and strategy, and Facebook has a deep bench of managers and engineers to build out his vision, he said.
"With so many instant millionaires, plenty of guys will leave and start companies," Pachter said. "They all want to be the next great thing."