Facebook dissociates outgoing India MD from Free Basics controversy

New Delhi, Feb 13: A day after Facebook India managing director Kirthiga Reddy said she will be relocating to the US in the next six to 12 months, a spokesperson of the social networking site on Saturday dissociated her from the controversial Free Basics services effort in the country.

“As she had planned for some time, Kirthiga Reddy is moving back to the US to work with the teams in headquarters. We are extremely proud of the work she has done to grow our global sales business in India. During her time in India, Kirthiga was not involved in our Free Basic services efforts,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

Facebook had cut off its Free Basics service for India on Feb 11, three days after the country’s telecom watchdog said no to discriminatory pricing of data content.

Reddy cited personal reasons for her relocation to the US.

“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. Our two daughters start high school and middle school this coming year- which serves as a natural transition point to make this move back,” she said in her Facebook post on Friday.

She said it will be business as-usual for her back in the US. “What am I going to be doing? It will be business as usual over the next 6-12 months. I am working closely with William Easton (managing director of emerging markets, APAC) and Dan Neary (vice president of Asia Pacific) as we search for my successor in India. I have also begun to explore new opportunities at Facebook back at Menlo Park.”

Expressing excitement about the Facebook business in India, Reddy said: “Over the last six years, starting as the first employee for Facebook in India, I have had the privilege to be part of our amazing growth journey — from our operations in Hyderabad to being a business partner for our clients as they build their brands and grow their business in this mobile-first world.”

Talking about the time she’s in India, Reddy said: “So let’s make sure we make the overdue coffee catchups happen! I’m grateful to have two countries to call “home,” have had this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and look forward to the next one, and have the opportunity to partner with each of you,” she added.  (IANS)

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