Sheryl Sandberg, who served as COO of Facebook-parent Meta, announced her resignation from the company on Wednesday.
In a Facebook post, Sandberg did not disclose the reason for her departure from the company, which will take place in the fall of 2019. Sandberg said she plans to focus on her philanthropic work going forward, having worked for the company for 14 years.
In the early days of social media, the debate was much different than it is today. To say that it has not always been easy would be an understatement. But it should be hard. The products we make have a huge impact, so we have the responsibility to build them in a way that protects privacy and keeps people safe.”
Sandberg will remain on Meta’s board of directors after announcing that she will step down as the company’s COO, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. Olivan, the company’s Chief Growth Officer, will become its next COO; however, his role will be “different from what Sheryl has done” and “a more traditional COO role,” Zuckerberg added.
In response to a question about the integration of product and business groups at the company, the CEO said “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.”
End of an era after a long partnership
Sandberg joined Facebook in March 2008. At the time, she was a high-profile figure in the tech industry, having been Google’s vice president of global online sales and operations. Prior to Google, she had held senior roles at the World Bank and the Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton. In those early years at Facebook, she was often referred to as the adult supervision for a company run by a very young founder.
In his post, Zuckerberg told about growing Facebook into the business it is today. “In 2008, when Sheryl joined me, I was 23 years old,” he said. “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.”
Sandberg helped grow Facebook’s revenue from roughly $150 million in 2007 to more than $3.7 billion in 2011, the year before it went public. In partnership with Zuckerberg, Sandberg also helped grow Facebook’s revenue from roughly $150 million in 2007 to more than $3.7 billion in 2011. Her reputation as one of the most influential women in tech was burnished by her work launching the Lean In movement. That reputation was burnished by her work launching the Lean In movement for women to succeed and achieve their goals.
In a post on Facebook, Zuckerberg described Sheryl Sandberg as the architect of the social networking site’s advertising business, who hired great people and forged its management culture. He added that she had created opportunities for millions of people around the world.
But as Facebook shifted from being one of Silicon Valley’s most exciting new ventures to being a scandal-prone organization accused of everything from undermining democracy to abetting genocide, Sandberg faced growing challenges from policymakers and the public alike on misinformation, allegations of political bias, and looming government regulation—forcing her to answer questions she may not have foreseen when she first agreed to join the company.
To help manage the public policy aspects of Facebook’s business, the company hired Nick Clegg as head of global affairs in 2018. While the former UK deputy prime minister reported to Sandberg, she also relieved Sandberg of a portion of her portfolio and reduced her profile—a move that highlighted growing rifts between Sandberg and Zuckerberg during the Trump administration and widened over time, according to a 2021 report by the New York Times. Facebook disputed the characterization of their relationship in that article.
For years, rumors have circulated that Sandberg would leave Facebook. In 2018, Zuckerberg said Sandberg wasn’t going anywhere and noted that he hoped “we work together for decades more to come.”
In a post on Wednesday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said: “It’s unusual for a business partnership like ours to last so long. I think ours did because Sheryl is such an amazing person, leader, partner, and friend.”