Facebook hires top ex-Yahoo mobile executive Anand Chandrasekaran for Messenger

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Co-Founder and CEO Snapdeal Kunal Bahl (C), Snapdeal Chief Product Officer Anand Chandrasekaran (R) and Senior vice-president of Shopoholic Sandeep Komarvelly (L) attending a press conference in New Delhi. (Photo by Qamar Sibtain/India Today Group/Getty Images)

Image: India Today Group/Getty Images

Facebook has hired high-profile Indian executive Anand Chandrasekaran for top strategic role of Messenger. Chandrasekaran has previously led mobile and search operations at Yahoo, and held similar positions at top Indian companies.

Chandrasekaran will oversee global strategies and partnerships for Facebook’s Messenger. The move comes at time when Facebook is increasingly focusing on expanding Messengers mobile features.

Chandrasekaran is a big name in the industry with expertize in mobile products. He served as the senior director of mobile and search products at Yahoo between 2011 and 2014. Chandrasekaran also brings to Facebook his experience with the Indian market.

Chandrasekaran quit Yahoo to join Bharti Airtel, Indias largest telecom operator by subscriber count. During his 13 months stay at the company, Bharti Airtel launched music and mobile payments services. He later joined Snapdeal, one of Indias top ecommerce companies as its chief product officer. Snapdeal’s franchise, consisting of Freecharge and Exclusively among others, sees over one million daily transactions.

“They say the best journeys bring you home. We embarked on one 2.5 years ago, and it has been nothing short of incredible – I am super excited to share that building on the learning and experiences – I am joining Facebook to work on Facebook Messenger platform. Really looking forward to working with Ime, David, Stan, John and the team to listen and learn and help build on the momentum,” Chandrasekaran wrote.

“Core to every major platform I’ve worked on is a belief that technology should help level the playing field for all – something that is at the heart of Facebook and Messenger,” said Chandrasekaran.

“It’s hard not to look back – the past couple of years have been the most intense, humbling and incredible periods I’ve experienced professionally living in India and being a part of Snapdeal / Freecharge and Bharti Airtel. ‘Going native’ and re-connecting with the country you grew up in is something I didn’t imagine I would get to do, let alone witnessing the entrepreneurial energy that’s driving India forward. I saw first hand how it became cool to build code and products that solve problems – the heart of what makes the Valley and other ecosystems what it is,” he added.

Mobile is increasingly important for Messenger as Facebook finds new avenues for its chat platform. The company has added capabilities such as a digital assistant M, and the ability to send and receive money. At its developer conference, Facebook announced bots for Messenger, which would allow businesses to automate responses and some services.

But more importantly, the company has also been trying to make it easier for users to make use of Messenger. In the recent months, Facebook has positioned Messenger as the de facto text messaging app on Android phones, and also enabled them to use Messenger without a Facebook account.

Chandrasekarans experience with India could prove instrumental in Facebooks further expansion in the country. India is Facebooks second largest market with over 155 monthly active users. Over 90 percent of Facebooks users in India access the service on their mobile phones.


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