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Big-Time Facebook Executive Mike Vernal Is Headed to Sequoia

Vernal was running all search and platform products for Facebook.

Mike Vernal

One of Facebook’s top executives, Mike Vernal, is leaving the company and headed to Sequoia Capital to be the firm’s newest partner.

Vernal has been at Facebook for more than eight years and climbed about as high up the ranks as you can at Facebook. By the time he announced his departure internally Monday afternoon, Vernal oversaw all of Facebook’s search and developer products, including things like commerce and Facebook’s local efforts. He reported directly to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The decision to leave was not an easy one, Vernal told Re/code, especially after the company’s developer conference last week where Zuckerberg laid out a grand vision that included things like connecting humans inside of virtual reality and Internet-beaming drones and towers.

“The company is so mission driven, and that mission is so good that it’s hard [to leave],” he said. “It’s a pretty exceptional place with pretty exceptional leaders.”

Vernal has done some angel investing in the past — what he called investing in “friends and friends of friends.” He didn’t nail down any specific verticals he’ll pursue at Sequoia, saying instead that he has interests “across lots of industries.”

Vernal met the team at Sequoia over time, in part because he was running the platform team which meant working with a lot of outside startups. Of course, Sequoia also invested in both Instagram and WhatsApp, two of Facebook’s most high-profile acquisitions to date.

The elephant in the room for Sequoia is that Vernal, who I’m told is Hispanic, is yet another male partner joining a firm with a bunch of existing male partners. Diversity hasn’t been Sequoia’s strong suit.

Here’s part of a statement on the hire that a Sequoia spokesperson passed along.

“You don’t recruit people like Mike. They choose you and we are thrilled to have him join. His experience scaling engineering, product and design teams at Facebook will be invaluable to Sequoia founders working to build similarly transformative companies.”

And here’s the statement from Facebook.

“Mike Vernal has been an integral part of the Facebook team for eight years. While we’re sad to lose him, we’re happy for him to take the next step in his career and wish him all the best.”

Facebook doesn’t comment much on how its executive teams are structured, but it sounds as though Vernal’s direct reports and responsibilities will be divvied up among Facebook’s existing management team, versus bringing on a replacement for his role.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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