Sheryl Sandberg is leaving her position as COO of Meta (previously Facebook) to pursue other opportunities.
Sandberg joined Facebook in 2008 as Mark Zuckerberg’s right-hand woman, and she has since been instrumental in the company’s meteoric rise to the top of the tech industry and the advertising industry. At one point, Facebook’s market valuation was worth more than a trillion dollars.
This fall, the company’s chief growth officer, Javier Olivan, will assume the role of chief operating officer. After breaking the news to Zuckerberg over the weekend, Sandberg has decided to remain on the board of directors at Meta.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Sandberg explained how she and her husband Mark would be “transitioning my direct reporting” over the following three months. Zuckerberg added that in addition to the external reorganization, Meta is also contemplating an internal reorganization to accommodate the new direction.
Future plans do not include me taking Sheryl’s place in the organization. In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg added, “I’m not sure that would be achievable since she’s a superstar who defined the COO role in her own unique way.”
But even if that weren’t the case, he believes that Meta has matured to the point where “closer integration” between the product and business groups makes more sense than maintaining a separate structure for the business and operations divisions.
Meta has been under fire in recent years for acquiring former competitors like Instagram and WhatsApp and for having such a large impact on the industry overall. Over the past three years, Congress has called Zuckerberg and other executives to testify on a number of occasions, but Sandberg has managed to avoid the limelight.
After a whistleblower submitted a complaint about the firm’s attempts to combat hate on its platform, the company is currently facing an antitrust action from the Federal Trade Commission and could see scrutiny from other authorities including the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In an interview with CNBC’s Julia Boorstin, Sandberg explained that her departure will give her more time for charitable endeavors. She clarified that neither the company’s regulatory burden nor the present advertising slowdown played a role in the decision to make the change.
Sandberg rode Facebook’s wave of popularity to greater prominence for herself, particularly among professional women.
Her 2013 book, “Lean In Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” addressed the obstacles women experience in the workplace and offered advice on how to overcome them.
Her spouse, Dave Goldberg, passed away in 2015 from cardiac arrhythmia after collapsing on a treadmill. Sandberg has been vocal about her experience grieving Goldberg’s death, and in 2017 she published a book named “Option B” on the subject.
Former Clinton administration Treasury Department employee Sandberg joined Google in 2001, where she contributed to the expansion of the company’s advertising division until she joined Facebook in 2004.