Sheryl Sandberg to step down as COO of Facebook-parent Meta
Sandberg didn’t disclose why she was leaving the company in a Facebook post. She said it would be happening this fall. Sandberg stated that she would continue to work in philanthropic areas. Since 1994, Sandberg has worked at the company.
“The social media debate has transformed beyond recognition in the past few years. Sandberg stated that “it hasn’t always been easy” is an exaggeration. But it shouldn’t be. We have an enormous impact on the products that we create, and we must ensure they are safe for privacy.
Mark Zuckerberg, Meta CEO and founder of Meta said that Sandberg will still serve as a director on the company’s board. Javier Olivan (the company’s Chief Grow Officer) will now be its next COO. But his role will not be the same as Sheryl and will instead “be more traditional”, Zuckerberg explained.
He stated that Meta is now at a point in which it makes more sense to have our business and product groups integrated rather than separate business and operations functions.
After a long partnership, it’s time to end the era
Sandberg had been an established figure in tech when she joined Facebook. She was Google’s vice president for global online sales operations and marketing. She had previously held high-ranking roles in the Treasury Department and World Bank under President Bill Clinton. She was frequently referred to in those first years of Facebook as “adult supervision” for companies run by young founders.
Zuckerberg wrote that he was 23 when Sheryl came to me for help in 2008. He didn’t know much about managing a business and had no idea what entrepreneurship meant. “We’d built a great product — the Facebook website — but we didn’t yet have a profitable business and we were struggling to transition from a small startup to a real organization.”
Sandberg and Zuckerberg worked together to grow Facebook’s revenue, from approximately $150 million in 2007, up to over $3.7billion in 2011. That was just one year prior it became public. Sandberg also became a prominent figure in the tech industry as one of its most important women. Her work in launching Lean In, a movement that offers a roadmap for women to succeed and reach their goals, helped her build a strong reputation.
Sheryl designed our advertising business, created a great management culture and showed me how to manage a company. Zuckerberg said that she created millions of opportunities around the globe and deserves credit for much of the success of Meta.
Sandberg was also the leader of Facebook’s transformation from a Silicon Valley startup to one that is a hot topic to be a pioneer in Silicon Valley to becoming a scandal-prone company, being accused of anything from undermining democracy and aiding genocide. Along with Zuckerberg, Sandberg faced growing challenges from policymakers and the public alike on misinformation, allegations of political bias, and looming government regulation — forcing her to answer questions she may not have foreseen when she first agreed to join the company.
The company in 2018 hired Nick Clegg to head global affairs. He was responsible for managing the Facebook public policy section. While the former UK deputy prime minister reported to Sandberg, it also meant relieving Sandberg of a portion of her portfolio and reducing her profile — which, according to a 2021 report by the New York Times, partly highlighted a rift between Sandberg and Zuckerberg that had emerged during the Trump administration and only widened over time. (Facebook disagreed with the Times’ portrayal of their relationship.
There have been rumors over the years that Sandberg might leave. Zuckerberg claimed that Sandberg isn’t leaving and stated that they would continue to work together “for decades” in 2018.
Zuckerberg posted Wednesday that it was unusual for business partnerships like his to last this long. Ours is a great partnership because Sheryl is an extraordinary leader, friend and partner.