WhatsApp has announced it has hired the first director for its operations in Brazil as part of a strategy to accelerate the adoption of the messaging tool among businesses.
The new incumbent is Guilherme Horn, who will start next month and be based in São Paulo. Horn is a well-known innovation author, investor and entrepreneur, having founded investment firms Órama and Ágora, which was acquired by Brazilian banking giant Bradesco in 2008 and held senior-level roles at companies such as Accenture.
In a statement, Will Cathcart, WhatsApp's global head, said, "as a successful entrepreneur, Guilherme knows what it takes to build meaningful partnerships that can serve local communities and businesses across Brazil".
Among his main objectives, Horn will be tasked with striking partnerships and creating new business opportunities in the B2B space. The company has been trialling new resources to help companies find new clients and also help end consumers find companies more easily. Currently, the free version of WhatsApp Business is aimed at small businesses, while firms using the tool for large-scale customer communications do so via an API.
"WhatsApp is special. It's not just how so many families and friends keep in touch; it's how companies want to relate to their customers. Being on WhatsApp is an extraordinary opportunity to improve the lives of people across Brazil," said Horn.
Brazil is one of the world's largest markets for WhatsApp. The country is among the most active both in terms of the number of users and the use of the application: it is the mobile app Brazilians use most often and for longer periods of time.
A significant milestone for the new WhatsApp leadership in Brazil is the presidential elections in October. In 2018, the messaging tool was at the center of a scandal involving president Jair Bolsonaro, who was accused of illegal campaigning tactics using the app.
Mass messaging during campaigning processes is already banned in Brazil, but the controversy surrounding the 2018 presidential race, prompted a warning from the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court that candidates using mass messaging during the 2022 election campaign may receive prison sentences.