A day after closing down its controversy-ridden Free Basics programme here, Facebook India Managing Director Kirthiga Reddy today stepped down from her current role and will relocate to the US.
The social networking giant has started looking for a successor to Reddy, who would be moving to Facebook's headquarters in the US in the next 6-12 months. Reddy said she along with William Easton, Managing Director of Emerging Markets (APAC) and Dan Neary, VP Asia Pacific, have started looking for her successor in India.
Facebook yesterday shut down 'Free Basics' in India, days after telecom regulator Trai barred operators from charging discriminatory rates for Internet access based on content.
"When my family relocated to India, we knew that we would move back to the US some day. It's a bittersweet moment to share that the return timeframe is coming up in the next 6-12 months," Reddy said in a post on the social networking site today.
"It will be business as usual over the next 6-12 months. I am working closely with William Easton and Dan Neary as we search for my successor in India. I have also begun to explore new opportunities at Facebook back at Menlo Park," she added.
Free Basics was offered in India in partnership with Reliance Communications and was earlier known as Internet.Org.
Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has also slammed Free Basics saying such differential pricing modes are "plainly not acceptable" and Internet should not become a monopoly of few.
After months-long consultation process, triggered by the net neutrality debate, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) earlier this week barred operators from charging different rates for data access, dealing a blow to Free Basics and other such plans like Airtel Zero.
While Facebook had promoted Free Basics as a programme aimed at providing basic Internet access to people in partnership with telecom operators, critics slammed the service saying it violated the principle of net neutrality.
Reddy said over the last six years, starting as the first employee for Facebook in India, she has had the privilege to be part of its amazing growth journey, from the firm's operations in Hyderabad to being a business partner for its clients.
"Above all, it's all been about our mission: Give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. We have only just begun," she added.