Facebook CTO leaving company to build future start-up

Facebook Chief Technology Officer Bret Taylor announced today that he will be leaving the company later this summer to start a new business with friend and Google App Engine founder Kevin Gibbs.

Director of Engineering Mike Vernal and Director of Mobile Engineering Cory Ondrejka will continue to lead in his absence, AllThingsD reports. Taylor, who joined the company as director of platform products through its acquisition of FriendFeed in 2009, became CTO in 2010, not long after the introduction of the Open Graph Protocol. At the time, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Taylor “helped shape my thinking on products, engineering and strategy in many ways.”

Taylor is the first high-level employee to leave Facebook since the company went public. TechCrunch reports that many more employees, including one executive, are rumored to be leaving soon.

“Cross-pollination among companies is what drives so much of innovation, so I would not project a lot onto this event,” he told AllThingsD. “I am really confident that the mobile and platform leaders at Facebook can deliver what needs to be done.”

Before Facebook and FriendFeed, Taylor was co-creator of Google Maps and the Google Maps API. According to AllThingsD, Taylor says he had “always been upfront” with Zuckerberg about his desires to one day start another company. Taylor says he had not decided what area his new start-up would focus on, though we imagine it will have a mobile focus. Taylor has been largely involved in pushing Facebook’s mobile platform forward.

“I’m very proud of our recent accomplishments in our platform and mobile products, from Open Graph and App Center to Facebook Camera and our iOS integration,” Taylor said in a Facebook post. I’m even more excited for the world to see all the amazing things these teams have coming.”

Read an interview we did with Taylor not long after he took on the CTO role here, and watch a video of his fireside chat during Inside Social Apps 2011 here.

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