Sheryl Sandberg is resigning as Chief Operating Officer of Meta, the company that used to be known as Facebook.
Sandberg joined Facebook as CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s No. 2 in early 2008, and helped turn the company into an advertising juggernaut and one of the most powerful corporations in the digital industry, with a market cap that once reached $1 trillion.
This fall, the company’s chief growth officer, Javier Olivan, will take over as COO. Sandberg will remain on Meta’s board of directors after informing Zuckerberg of her choice this past weekend.
“Over the next few months, Mark and I will transition my direct reports,” Sandberg stated in a long Facebook post about stepping down. According to Zuckerberg, Meta is also preparing an internal restructuring to coincide with the change.
“Looking forward, I don’t plan to replace Sheryl’s role in our existing structure. I’m not sure that would be possible since she’s a superstar who defined the COO role in her own unique way,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.
“But even if it were possible, I think Meta has reached the point where it makes sense for our product and business groups to be more closely integrated, rather than having all the business and operations functions organized separately from our products,” he said.
In recent years, Meta has been under fire for its massive reach, lack of success in preventing the spread of disinformation and dangerous material, and acquisitions of former competitors such as Instagram and WhatsApp. In the previous three years, Zuckerberg and other executives have been obliged to appear in front of Congress many times, yet Sandberg has mainly avoided the spotlight. After a whistleblower filed a complaint about the company’s attempts to combat hate on its platform, the Federal Trade Commission filed an antitrust action against it, and it could face attention from other agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Sandberg told the stepping down will allow her to concentrate more on her charity efforts. She said that the move was not motivated by the company’s regulatory burden or its current advertising slowdown.
Sandberg used her Facebook success to raise her personal profile, particularly among women in the workplace.
She published “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” in 2013, which focused on the challenges that women face in the workplace and what they can do to enhance their careers.
In 2015, she was confronted with the untimely death of her husband, Dave Goldberg, who died on a treadmill after suffering cardiac arrhythmia. Sandberg has spoken extensively on coping with the sadness of Goldberg’s death, and she published a book titled “Option B” in 2017 that focused on the subject.
Sandberg worked in the Clinton administration’s Treasury Department before joining Google in 2001 to assist expand the company’s advertising business.