Ajit Mohan, the head of Meta in India, has left the firm and agreed to join rival Snap, according to sources familiar with the matter. At Snap, Mohan will serve as the president of the company's APAC business, two sources said. (Updated at 8:50 p.m. India standard time: Mohan has confirmed the move in a LinkedIn post.)
Mohan (pictured above) joined Meta, called Facebook then, in January 2019 as a VP and MD of the India business. During his stay at the firm, Facebook's family of apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp, added over 300 million users in India, made a series of ambitious investments in the country, including cutting a $5.7 billion check to Indian telecom giant Jio Platforms, and ramped up the commerce engine of WhatsApp.
The company also conceptualized and used India as the test market to build a range of services, including Reels. Facebook grew its revenue in India by more than 70%, to $2.1 billion, in the financial year that ended in March.
During his tenure, Meta went through significant changes in India, which it counts as its largest market by users. Ankhi Das, a top Facebook executive in India, left the firm in 2020 after she was alleged to interfere in how the company enforced its hate-speech policy in the country. The company has since improved its dialogue with the government bodies.
"When I took on this role, I shared with you that our mission in India will be to become a valuable ally to India and to help fuel its economic and social transformation. This is exactly what we have managed to do in the last four years," Mohan wrote in an internal post seen by TechCrunch.
A McKinsey alum, Mohan rose to stardom at Star, where he played an instrumental role in getting the entertainment conglomerate to launch a streaming service, called Hotstar.
Along with Uday Shankar, Mohan also played a key part in the content strategy of Hotstar, banking on local movies and shows and sports streaming. The timely bet on online streaming and cricket cemented Hotstar's place as a crown jewel in Disney's portfolio after the Fox acquisition.
“Ajit has decided to step down from his role at Meta to pursue another opportunity outside of the company," Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president of Global Business Group at Meta, said in a statement.
"Over the last four years, he has played an important role in shaping and scaling our India operations so they can serve many millions of Indian businesses, partners and people. We remain deeply committed to India and have a strong leadership team in place to carry on all our work and partnerships. We are grateful for Ajit’s leadership and contribution and wish him the very best for the future."
Manish Chopra, director and head of partnerships at Meta India, will serve as the interim head of the company's operations in the country, a Meta spokesperson said.
Snap has ramped up efforts in India and several other Asian markets in recent years and made a push to introduce a series of localized features. The app quadrupled its user base to 100 million users in India in the past three years, according to data from Data.ai and Sensor Tower.