Who is Neeraj Arora? The IITian Who May Replace Jan Koum as New WhatsApp CEO


The Co-founder and CEO of world’s largest messaging platform Jan Koum announced that he will be parting ways with the company earlier this week.

Koum is leaving due to the ongoing controversy over WhatsApp strategy about its user data privacy and weakened encryption. Its been almost 3.5 years that Facebook acquired WhatsApp. Koum is also the Facebook board member and it is currently unclear about his seat.

Mr Koum, who announced his exit from WhatsApp on April 30, said on social network Facebook: “I’m leaving at a time when people are using WhatsApp in more ways than I could have imagined. The team is stronger than ever and it’ll continue to do amazing things. I’m taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology, such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate Frisbee…”

With Jan Koum stepping down, the new man came into the limelight is the WhatsApp’s business executive Neeraj Arora. He has been with WhatsApp for over 6 years since 2011. Neeraj is a mergers-and-acquisitions veteran who joined WhatsApp from Google in 2011. According to a TechCrunch report, Neeraj can replace Koum and may be sworn in as new CEO.

Here is all you need to know about him

  • Neeraj is an IIT Delhi and ISB alumnus. If promoted, he will join the elite club of Indian origin CEO’s such as  Satya NadellaMicrosoft, Sundar PichaiGoogle and Shantanu NarayenAdobe, who are leading their respective companies in the technology market.
  • After graduating from IIT, Neeraj joined a cloud solutions company, Accellion, in 2000. He was one of the earliest engineers at the company, building pieces of the core technology.
  • Later on, he joined ISB and graduated with an MBA in Finance and Strategy in 2006. He then got into Times Internet Limited where he worked for 18 months.
  • In 2007, left for Google where he handled acquisitions and strategic investments across products and geographies for the global giant. According to his Linkedin profile, Neeraj has helped in the acquisitions of Zagat, Dailydeal.de, Slide, Picnik, Cleversense, PittPatt and Talkbin.
  • He has been working for WhatsApp for over 6 years now and has also served as the board member for Paytm.

The job isn’t going to be an easy one for Neeraj because Facebook has a huge breach of trust hanging over its head. He will have to work out hard to retain the trust of users.