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Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg is stepping down after 14 years

Sheryl Sandberg joined Meta, then Facebook, back in 2008. Now, 14 years later, she is leaving the company.

Updated:Thu, June 02, 2022 10:01am

By Shweta Ganjoo

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Sheryl Sandberg joined Meta (then Facebook) back in 2008 as the company's Chief Operating Officer. Second-in-command to Mark Zuckerberg, who was 23 years old when he hired her, Sandberg is often accredited with bringing management experience and knowledge to the then fledgling company. She is also accredited with transforming Facebook's ads business and from a buzzy startup into a revenue behemoth. Now, 14 years later, the top Meta executive is leaving the company.

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"When I took this job in 2008, I hoped I would be in this role for five years. 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," Sandberg wrote in a long post on Facebook.

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While the top Meta executive didn't specify as to what she would be doing next, in her post she did say that she will focus more on philanthropic work. "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," she added.

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Sandberg also said that while she will leave the company this fall, she will still remain Meta's board of directors.

Reacting to the development, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in a wordy post on Facebook said that the moment was like the end of an era for the company. "When Sheryl joined me in 2008, I was only 23 years old and I barely knew anything about running a company. We'd built a great product -- the Facebook website -- but we didn't yet have a profitable business and we were struggling to transition from a small startup to a real organization," he wrote.

"Sheryl architected our ads business, hired great people, forged our management culture, and taught me how to run a company. She created opportunities for millions of people around the world, and she deserves the credit for so much of what Meta is today," he added.

What happens next?

Post Sandberg's exit, Meta Chief Growth Officer Javier Olivan will take over as chief operating officer. "But this role will be different from what Sheryl has done. It will be a more traditional COO role where Javi will be focused internally and operationally, building on his strong track record of making our execution more efficient and rigorous," Zuckerberg wrote in the post.

In the same post, Zuckerberg also highlighted a host of changes to the company. He said Meta's Chief Business Officer, Marne Levine, will report to Olivan "so that our Ads and Business Platform product group will be closer to the Meta Business Group." Also, Meta's VP Strategic Response, Molly Cutler, will join Javier's team and report to Naomi Gleit.

Justin Osofsky will report to Chris Cox. In addition to his role overseeing Global Operations and Instagram's business organisation, Osofsky will now take on an additional responsibility building a content team that works across business and product that will train the company's AI recommendation systems to help users discover content across Facebook and Instagram. Lastly, Meta's our Head of People, Lori Goler, will now report directly to Zuckerberg.

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