Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg leaves the company: NPR


Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg announced Wednesday that she is leaving the company after 14 years with the Silicon Valley giant.

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Jose Luis Magana/AP

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg leaves the company: NPR

Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg announced Wednesday that she is leaving the company after 14 years with the Silicon Valley giant.

Jose Luis Magana/AP

Sheryl Sandberg, one of the most prominent Silicon Valley executives who helped build Facebook into a global tech juggernaut, is stepping down as chief operating officer of Meta, Facebook’s parent company.

Sandberg, 52, made the surprise announcement in a Facebook post on Wednesday, writing that: “When I took this job in 2008, I hoped to be in this position for five years. Fourteen years later, it’s time for me to write the next chapter of my life,” Sandberg wrote. “I’m not quite sure what the future will bring – I’ve learned that no one ever is.”

Sandberg will remain on Meta’s board, according to the company. Javier Olivan, another company executive, will take over as chief operating officer when Sandberg steps down this fall.

She plans to dedicate her time to philanthropy and her foundation. This summer, she noted in her post, she will marry TV producer Tom Bernthal.

Sandberg played a pivotal role in helping transform Facebook from a free social network dreamed up in a Harvard dorm to one of the world’s most dominant social media platforms, with nearly 3 billion users worldwide. .

Often dubbed “the adult in the room” during Facebook’s early rise, she served as the company’s seasoned No. 2 alongside co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who ran the company in his early 20s. Sandberg came to Facebook after years of working as an advertising manager at Google.

“He was only 23 and I was already 38 when we met, but together we’ve been through the ups and downs of running this business,” Sandberg wrote in his exit note Wednesday.

At Facebook, Sandberg oversaw advertising strategy, hiring, firing and other management issues. Zuckerberg once said that she “deals with the things that I don’t want,” he told the New Yorker in 2011. “She’s much better at that.”

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg leaves the company: NPR

Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg, center, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, center left, and Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. CEO Robert Greifeld, center right, applaud after ringing the bell distance the opening bell for trading on the Nasdaq MarketSite from the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, California, U.S., Friday, May 18, 2012.

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Outside of the company, she’s become a public face of Facebook, sitting down for interviews amid crises and schmoozing policymakers weighing regulations that would affect the company.

Sandberg is leaving at a time when Facebook, which last year rebranded Meta, is trying to reinvent itself as a hardware company focused on the metaverse powered by virtual reality. Unlike the social network, the metaverse business does not rely on advertising, which was one of Sandberg’s areas of expertise.

Along with being Facebook’s No. 2, Sandberg has become a celebrity author, penning “Lean In,” a 2013 book that has become a touchstone in the fight for greater gender equality in the workplace. work. After the sudden death of her husband Dave Goldberg in 2015, she wrote another book on coping with grief called “Option B”.

At Facebook, Sandberg served as the public face of the company as it reeled from crises over the years, including Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and the months that followed. the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018 over how the data mining company misused Facebook. user data for political purposes.

Her exit comes two months after a controversy in which Sandberg reportedly urged a British tabloid to drop reporting on her former boyfriend, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.

The story, which has never been published, is said to have been filed in court showing that an ex-girlfriend of Kotick received a temporary restraining order against him after allegations of harassment.

The the wall street journal reported that Sandberg advisers were concerned that the story would damage Sandberg’s image as an advocate for women, so a team including Facebook employees worked to have the story killed.

Facebook investigated whether Sandberg’s actions violated company rules, but the findings were not made public. A company spokeswoman simply said the investigation was over.

A Meta spokeswoman said Sandberg’s departure was unrelated to reports of the Kotick incident.

“She was not expelled or fired,” Meta spokeswoman Nkechi Nneji said.


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