Sheryl Sandberg will step down as COO of Meta Platforms after 14 years as its second executive, where she helped scale Facebook into the social media juggernaut it is today. Sandberg will leave her position as the company’s No. 2 leader in the fall, after working with founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg over the next few months to hand over her immediate reports. She will retain a seat on Meta’s board.
Zuckerberg called the change an “end of an era” and said he has no intention of replacing Sandberg’s exact role in the company’s structure. Its current Chief Growth Officer Javier Olivan, already one of the company’s most powerful but lesser-known executives, will take over as COO in what Zuckerberg says is a “more traditional” COO role. That move, combined with Meta’s lead attorney and HR executive now reporting directly to Zuckerberg, further consolidates power under his control.
More recently, Zuckerberg has rebranded the company from Facebook to Meta and is investing heavily to take its social technology beyond 2D to build the metaverse through virtual and augmented reality. Sandberg joined the company in 2008 to help then 23-year-old Zuckerberg go public and build an advertising company, which she has run ever since. Before that, she spent six years at Google building its online sales channels for AdWords and AdSense. At Meta, the ad business has been under attack from all sides in recent years as Apple and regulators crack down on Facebook’s ability to target ads, which has contributed to a sharp drop in revenue growth and Meta’s stock price.
Sandberg’s departure has been a long time coming, according to countless people who have worked with her. Her departure “will be an incredibly unshocking departure for just about everyone at the company,” said Drew Pusateri, a recently departed member of Meta’s communications department. in a tweet Wednesday.
According to current and former executives, Sandberg has become less involved in the nuts and bolts of Meta’s advertising business in recent years compared to previous parts of Facebook’s history, though she has remained the company’s public voice when calling corporate earnings. Meanwhile, she has steadily advanced leaders on her team to senior positions, namely by promoting Marne Levine to Chief Business Officer and more recently, elevating Policy Director Nick Clegg to the role of President reporting to Zuckerberg.
Sandberg notified Zuckerberg of her intention to resign over the weekend, according to a person familiar with the case. Though she was recently accused of abusing her position to crush negative coverage of her ex-boyfriend and Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, her decision to leave Meta had nothing to do with that scandal, the person added, saying. that Facebook’s internal review of the case had recently been closed.