Sheryl Sandberg announced that she will be resigning from her 14-year tenure as the chief operating officer of Meta Platforms, the company formerly known as Facebook. She will be replaced by Meta’s chief growth officer Javier Olivan and maintain a seat on the company’s board of directors. Sandberg will work with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to transition out of her role as COO and officially step down this fall. Recognized by Zuckerberg and others as the primary architect of Facebook’s advertising business, Baird analyst Colin Sebastian said Sandberg developed “one of the strongest business models in the digital economy.”
“Sandberg grew Meta’s revenue from $272 million in 2008 to nearly $118 billion in 2021,” according to Axios. She “oversaw hundreds of initiatives that would eventually create the modern advertising ecosystem — a world built on small businesses being able to target nearly any customer globally via user data.”
Sandberg’s “focus on scale and measurable outcomes for advertisers led to Meta’s massive commercial success … Soon after Facebook proved in 2012 that it could replicate its success on desktop for mobile, hundreds of apps began to copy Facebook’s model, hoping to get a sliver of the digital ad pie that, thanks to Facebook and Google, was exploding.”
During her 14 years, “Sandberg steered the company through an IPO, an unprecedented period of explosive industry growth and its at-times rocky path to becoming one of the most socially impactful and valuable tech companies in the world,” reports TechCrunch.
Before joining Facebook, Sandberg served as an executive at Google, and was chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers under President Bill Clinton. She is also the founder of the non-profit LeanIn.org, created to help women achieve their goals. She serves on numerous boards, including those for The Walt Disney Company, Women for Women International, the Center for Global Development and V-Day.
“When I took this job in 2008, I hoped I would be in this role for five years,” Sandberg wrote in a Facebook post last week. “Fourteen years later, it is time for me to write the next chapter of my life. I am not entirely sure what the future will bring — I have learned no one ever is. But I know it will include focusing more on my foundation and philanthropic work, which is more important to me than ever given how critical this moment is for women.”
“Looking forward, I don’t plan to replace Sheryl’s role in our existing structure,” wrote Zuckerberg on Facebook. “I’m not sure that would be possible since she’s a superstar who defined the COO role in her own unique way. 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.”
Sheryl Sandberg’s Advice for Working Women, The New York Times, 6/6/22
Opinion: Sheryl Sandberg’s Dangerous Delusion, CNN, 6/4/22
What Sheryl Sandberg’s Exit Reveals About Women’s Progress in Tech, The New York Times, 6/3/22
Sheryl Sandberg’s Influence Reaches All of Us. But It’s a Troubling Legacy, The Guardian, 6/5/22