Chief Operating Officer of Meta Platforms Inc, Sheryl Sandberg said in a Facebook post that she would be leaving the company after fourteen years of service. Sandberg’s close association with CEO Mark Zuckerberg transformed the growth of the world’s largest social network.
Sandberg’s announcement initially caused the company’s share price to drop by 4 percent, but the stock stabilized in after-hours trading.
In the post on Facebook, Sandberg said she had hoped to be in the role for five years after accepting the job in 2008. She also said that after fourteen years of working with the company, it was time to move on.
In a separate post, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Chief Growth Officer Javier Olivan would take over the role of Chief Operating Officer, while adding that he did not intend to replace the role directly within the company’s existing corporate structure.
Zuckerberg also said that he believed that the company had reached a stage for the product and business groups to be more closely aligned, in contrast to having all the business and operations functions organized separately from the products division.
Javier Olivan has led teams that handle Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp, having worked at the company for over fourteen years.
Sandberg’s departure from the company signaled the end of an era for Meta, which has recently shifted focus to the Metaverse and associated hardware products. Meta, over the years, was embroiled in scandals involving privacy abuse and the proliferation of conspiratorial content on its platform, and also had to deal with steadily flattening user growth on its platform Facebook.
Sandberg was the lead architect of Facebook’s often-criticized ad-based business model, and was one of the most visible executives in the company after CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Sandberg responsible for Facebook transformation
Sandberg was responsible for transforming Facebook from a mere startup into a revenue generating giant, bringing management expertise and in-depth knowledge of the digital ads industry to the company.
At the time of Sandberg’s joining, Facebook was generating USD272 million in revenue, with a net loss of USD 56 million. Meta ended the year 2021 with a revenue of USd118 billion with earnings of USD39.4 billion.
In the post announcing her departure from the company, Sandberg said that she would continue to serve on Meta’s board after leaving. She also said that she would focus on philanthropy in what she described as a critical time for women.
In the course of many controversies faced by Facebook, she had been a loyal defender of the company, arguing that the company executives were learning from their mistakes in a constant endeavor to better protect users from harmful content.
Prior to joining Facebook, Sandberg was vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google and chief of staff for the United States Treasury Department under former President Bill Clinton.
A Harvard University graduate, Sandberg is also the author of several best-selling books.