Instagram promotes Vishal Shah to Head of Product post
Following the departure of Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in September, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform was going through a leadership crisis. Now, in a bid to bring some stability, Instagram has promoted its Director of Product Management, Vishal Shah, to the coveted Head of Product post. Shah's promotion comes just three years after he joined Instagram. Here are the details.
"I am thrilled that Vishal Shah is Instagram's new Head of Product. Vishal is an experienced manager with deep product knowledge who lives out Instagram's values of people first, simplicity, and craft," a Facebook spokesperson told Recode, confirming Shah's appointment.
A UC Berkeley-educated computer science engineer, Shah joined Instagram in 2015 as the Director of Product Management, after a 9-year-long stint at insights and analytics firm Turn. In his earlier post at Instagram, Shah was in charge of overseeing Instagram's consumer business and revenue products divisions, including search, ad products, and the platform's IGTV service.
Instagram filling an all-important role from among its ranks has been seen by many as an effort to bring stability to the company, which saw many of its senior leaders leave. In May this year, Instagram's heads of product and engineering quit the company for a newly-formed Facebook blockchain team. In September, its COO left, followed by co-founders Systrom and Krieger.
The departure of senior executives and its fiercely dedicated and detail-obsessed co-founders left Instagram with uncertainty. According to employees, the company saw a drop in employee morale, and many feared that external appointments to fill vacancies would lead to the platform getting messed up. Following the departures, Instagram's Head of Product, Adam Mosseri, was given the responsibility of running all of Instagram.
Mosseri, who had joined Instagram just six months back, was consequently faced with filling the vacancies in the posts of Head of Product, Head of Engineering, and COO, among others. With Shah's appointment, at least one of these three major roles have been filled. Further, apart from Shah's experience, he's also known to have an eye for detail and deep knowledge of Instagram's products.
With Instagram fast becoming Facebook's most important product in terms of revenue generation, and catering to an increasing audience of young people, Shah's appointment comes at a very important time. Although Instagram is currently going strong, the responsibility of continuing this momentum will fall on its to-be-leaders, including Shah, and it remains to be seen how Instagram's new leadership fares.