REUTERS - Facebook Inc's India managing director, Kirthiga Reddy, said on Friday she is stepping down and returning to the United States to "explore new opportunities" at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California.
Reddy, who joined Facebook in 2010 as its first employee in India, said in a Facebook post she would be relocating in the next 6-12 months.
Reddy is working closely with William Easton, MD of emerging markets (Asia Pacific), and Dan Neary, vice president of Asia Pacific, to search for her successor.
The move comes days after India introduced rules to prevent Internet service providers from having different pricing policies for accessing different parts of the Web, in a setback to Facebook's plan to roll out a pared-back free Internet service.
The service, earlier known as internet.org, has also run into trouble in other countries that have accused Facebook of infringing the principle of net neutrality - the concept that all websites and data on the Internet be treated equally.
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg was disappointed with the Indian ruling and said that the company was still "working to break down barriers to connectivity in India and around the world."
"As she had planned for some time, Kirthiga Reddy is moving back to the U.S. to work with the teams in Headquarters," a Facebook spokesperson said. "During her time in India, Kirthiga was not involved in our Free Basic Services efforts."
Reporting by Kshitiz Goliya in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty