Sheryl Sandberg, owner of Facebook, Meta Platforms, will leave after 14 years

June 1 (Reuters) – Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O) COO Sheryl Sandberg, whose close partnership with CEO Mark Zuckerberg fueled the growth of the world’s largest social network, is leaving the company after 14 years, she said in a post on Wednesday. Facebook.

The announcement initially sent shares of the social media company down 4%, but the stock was nearly flat after hours trading.

“When I took this job in 2008, I hoped to hold this position for five years. Fourteen years later, it’s time for me to write the next chapter of my life,” she wrote.

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Chief Growth Officer Javier Olivan will take over as COO, Zuckerberg said in a separate Facebook post, although he added that he has no plans to replace Sandberg’s role directly at the office. within the existing corporate structure.

“I think Meta has reached the point where it makes sense for our product and business groups to be more tightly integrated, rather than having all business and operational functions organized separately from our products,” he said. declared.

Olivan has been with Meta for over 14 years and has led teams managing Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

Sandberg’s departure marks the end of an era for Meta, which is focusing on hardware products and the “metaverse” after years of scandals over privacy breaches and the distribution of conspiratorial content on its platforms. as well as capping user growth on its flagship app. Facebook.

Second in command to founder Zuckerberg, who was 23 when he hired her, Sandberg is one of the company’s most visible executives and the primary architect of its oft-criticized ad-based business model.

Bringing management experience and knowledge of the then-nascent digital advertising industry, she transformed Facebook from a buzzing startup into a revenue giant, while positioning herself as the face of feminism in American business.

At the time, Facebook was making $272 million in revenue, for a net loss of $56 million, according to regulatory filings. In 2011, a year before the company went public, its revenue had reached $3.7 billion on $1 billion in profit.

Meta ended 2021 with $118 billion in revenue and $39.4 billion in profit.

Sandberg said in her post that she would continue to serve on Meta’s board after leaving the company in the fall.

Asked about her next steps, she told Reuters she was focusing on philanthropy at a “critical time for women”.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and current President of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), gives a press conference on the sidelines of the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York, New York, U.S. September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Yana Paskova/Files

“We’ve hired so many great leaders. I feel really good about that. The next leadership team is in place to drive the business forward,” she said, mentioning chief commercial officer Marne Levine and chairman of global affairs Nick Clegg by name.

CLOSED DEFENDER

Sandberg has been a staunch defender of Facebook during its many controversies, consistently saying executives learn from their mistakes and refining the company’s tools to better control harmful content.

She told Reuters last year that she and Zuckerberg had a responsibility to fix systems that had failed, while dismissing reports that she was losing power in the company.

“People love headlines about corporate drama, and I think it’s fair to say that they especially love headlines about sidelining women,” she said in the January 2021 interview.

Sandberg’s warrant covered both Facebook’s initial settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission in 2011 over privacy breaches and a subsequent $5 billion settlement over breaches of the previous agreement.

She and Zuckerberg were among those who then-commissioner Rohit Chopra said should have been further investigated for their role in the company’s behavior.

Under his leadership, the company was rocked by revelations in 2018 that UK consultancy Cambridge Analytica had improperly acquired data on millions of its US users to target election advertising.

In the same year, UN human rights investigators said the use of Facebook had played a key role in spreading hate speech that fueled violence against the Rohingya community in Myanmar.

She courted additional criticism when she told Reuters early last year that she believed the events around the January 6 attack on the US Capitol were largely staged on other platforms, although the researchers also identified similar activity on Facebook.

Late last year, whistleblower Frances Haugen accused the social media giant of prioritizing profit over cracking down on hate speech and misinformation, and said its lawyers had filed at least eight complaints with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

Before 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 graduate of Harvard University, Sandberg is the author of several books, including the 2013 feminist manifesto “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.”

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Reporting by Katie Paul in Palo Alto; additional reporting by Gina Chon and Diane Bartz in Washington, Sheila Dang in Dallas and Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur, Alistair Bell and Bernard Orr

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