For more than a decade, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg began and ended each week by meeting together.
The symbolism of the ritual was clear. It was intended to signal that Mr. Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Meta, and Ms. Sandberg, the chief operating officer, were in lock step with each other at the top of the company.
But when Ms. Sandberg, 52, said on Wednesday that she would step down from Meta this fall, she crystallized an unspoken change at the tech giant: Mr. Zuckerberg no longer has any clear No. 2.
While Mr. Zuckerberg named Javier Olivan, a longtime executive, to take over Ms. Sandberg’s job when she departs, the importance of the chief operating officer role has diminished at Meta, which was formerly known as Facebook. Mr. Zuckerberg, 38, instead has four executives who have equally large
responsibilities and who answer to and run major decisions by him.
Mr. Zuckerberg made the structural shift because he wanted to consolidate his control over all arms of the company, three people close to him said. While Mr. Zuckerberg has always been the undisputed boss, with a majority of the company’s voting shares, he shared power with Ms. Sandberg when he was a younger businessman and needed help expanding the company. But with more than 18 years of experience under his belt, he wants to exercise all of his power and be identified more clearly as Meta’s sole leader, the people said.
The four top lieutenants are Andrew Bosworth, the chief technology officer; Nick Clegg, the president of global affairs; Chris Cox, the chief product officer; and Mr. Olivan, who was the head of growth, Mr. Zuckerberg said in a Facebook message about Ms. Sandberg’s exit on Wednesday.
Each of the four men has major responsibilities. Mr. Clegg is the public face and ambassador for Meta, while Mr. Bosworth is pushing the company into the immersive world of the so-called metaverse. Mr. Cox oversees Meta’s family of apps — Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and Facebook — and…
Sheera Frenkel and Mike Isaac
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