Sheryl Sandberg is stepping down as the chief operating officer of Facebook’s parent company Meta after 14 years, a major shake-up in which chief executive Mark Zuckerberg will lose one of his closest lieutenants.
Sandberg, one of the company’s most high-profile executives, will leave the business “in the fall” after a transition period, while remaining on Meta’s board, she said.
In a post on her Facebook page on Wednesday, Sandberg did not outline her reasons for quitting the company, which she helped grow from a start-up with no revenue into a digital advertising behemoth. She said she was “not entirely sure what the future will bring” but wished to focus more on her philanthropic endeavours.
Javier Olivan, another longtime employee who is currently the company’s chief growth officer, will take on the operating officer position.
Zuckerberg called the move the “end of an era”, adding in his own long Facebook post that the 52-year-old had “architected our ads business, hired great people, forged our management culture, and taught me how to run a company”.
Shares in the company fell nearly 3 per cent on the news.
A Harvard graduate, Sandberg joined Facebook in 2008. She worked for then US Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers under president Bill Clinton, and later grew Google’s advertising business as its vice-president of global online sales and operations.
Cast as the “adult in the room” when joining Zuckerberg’s team of twenty-somethings at the time, Sandberg is credited with driving the monetisation of the business, which floated publicly in 2012 and generated $117bn in revenue in 2021.
During her tenure, she positioned herself as an advocate for women in the workplace, writing the modern feminist call-to-arms Lean In. She also presented herself as a champion for small businesses using Facebook to grow.
But as a public facing figure who once regularly met with lawmakers and regulators, she has also been caught in the…
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