A day after closing down its controversy-ridden Free Basics programme in the country, Facebook India managing director (MD) Kirthiga Reddy stepped down on Friday and will relocate to the US. Facebook had shut down Free Basics after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) barred operators from charging discriminatory rates for Internet access based on content.
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 six to twelve months. Reddy said that she along with William Easton, MD of emerging markets and Dan Neary, vice-president, Asia-Pacific, have started looking for her successor in India.
"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 time frame is coming up in the next 6-12 months," Reddy said in a post on the social networking site on Friday. "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."
Free Basics was offered in India in partnership with Reliance Communications.
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, 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.