SAN FRANCISCO — A key Facebook executive, Mike Vernal, is joining Sequoia Capital as a partner.

Vernal, who reported directly to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, was vice president of search, local and developer products and had worked at Facebook for eight years.

"Mike Vernal has been an integral part of the Facebook team for eight years. While we're sad to lose him, we're happy for him to take the next step in his career and wish him all the best," Facebook said in an emailed statement.

Vernal told Re/code that he has dabbled as an angel investor, backing "friends and friends of friends." 

Sequoia, famous for its investments in Apple and Google, also invested in two of Facebook's most important and pricey acquisitions: photo-sharing service Instagram and popular messaging app WhatsApp.

"One of the most important things I’ve learned at Facebook is that a small team of people with vision and drive can change the world," Vernal wrote in a Facebook post. "While I’m sad to leave Facebook, I’m excited to join Sequoia and work with a new wave of bold, driven, and visionary entrepreneurs."

Bryan Schreier, a Sequoia partner, said the firm got to know Vernal through his work "fostering startups when he was leading Facebook's platform initiatives."

"His experience scaling engineering, product, and design teams at Facebook will be invaluable to Sequoia founders," Schreier said in an emailed statement.