The Facebook executive handling the company’s public image is leaving

Schrage with Sandberg
Schrage with Sandberg
Image: Reuters/James Lawler Duggan
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Elliot Schrage, a ten-year veteran of Facebook, is stepping down from his position as VP of public policy and communications, a company spokesperson confirmed to Quartz.

Schrage, who will stay on to spearhead the search for his replacement, oversaw Facebook’s public image, including the company’s response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. He also lead policy teams who deal with some of the company’s most controversial problems and efforts, like fake news and content moderation. Recode first reported the news of his departure.

“Leading policy and communications for hyper growth technology companies is a joy — but it’s also intense and leaves little room for much else,” Schrage said in a Facebook post. “I have had more than just a front row seat to one of the most important developments in human history, but the chance to be in the arena.”

Facebook has bungled the response to many a public scandal under Schrage’s watch, but the company insists that his exit was being discussed before some of its biggest controversies came to light. Such high-profile departures are rare for Facebook, with the executives being a devoted, tight-knit group.

The spokesperson said that Schrage will be moving into an advisory role to CEO Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, and that the trio discussed his desire to leave his current position as early as 2016. Schrage stayed on until now to help in turbulent times for the company. In the past two years, Facebook has had to contend with Russian election meddling on its platforms and multiple privacy and security concerns, including the Cambridge Analytica blow-up. Recode reports Schrage is behind a push to make Facebook more open to outsiders as the company deals with its issues.