Signal founder Moxie Marlinspike announced in a Jan. 10 blog post that he is stepping down as CEO of the popular encrypted instant messaging service. Executive chairman and WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton will serve as the interim CEO while the company searches for a replacement.
“Every day, I’m struck by how boundless Signal’s potential looks, and I want to bring in someone with fresh energy and commitment to make the most of that,” Marlinspike wrote in the blog post. “I now feel very comfortable replacing myself as CEO based on the team we have.”
Signal has met with several CEO candidates “over the last few months,” Marlinspike added, but the search is still ongoing.
Founded in 2014, Signal has grown into one of the strongest and most trusted apps for encrypted messaging. The app has more than 40 million monthly users. Established as a non-profit, the company is not supported by advertising or app sales. Instead, Signal relies on user donations and a recently launched sustainer program in order to stay in business.
“Signal has grown in adoption and popularity around the world even faster than I imagined,” Marlinspike said. “People increasingly find value and peace of mind in Signal (technology built for them instead of for their data), and are increasingly willing to sustain it.”
Marlinspike said he will stay on the company board, continue the search for his permanent replacement, and support Signal’s during the transition.
“Thank you to everyone who has helped make Signal what it is, has been supportive of what we’re building, and has been there along the way,” Marlinspike said. “We already have so much exciting work that’s coming soon in the pipeline right now, and I’m optimistic about all the potential for Signal over the next decade.”
Marlinspike gave no indication of his future plans after stepping down and leaving Signal.