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Sheryl Sandberg, longtime No. 2 exec at Facebook, steps down

UPDATED: Wed., June 1, 2022

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Sept. 5, 2018. Sandberg is stepping down.  (Associated Press )
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Sept. 5, 2018. Sandberg is stepping down. (Associated Press )
Associated Press

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO – Sheryl Sandberg, the No. 2 executive at Facebook owner Meta, is stepping down. Sandberg has served as chief operating officer at the social media giant for 14 years. She joined from Google in 2008, four years before Facebook went public.

“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,” Sandberg wrote on her Facebook page Wednesday.

Sandberg has led Facebook – now Meta’s – advertising business and was responsible for nurturing it from its infancy into an over $100 billion-a-year powerhouse. She’s leaving Meta in the fall and will continue to serve on the company’s board.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in his own Facebook post that Javier Olivan will serve as Meta’s new COO, although it will be a different job than the one Sandberg held for the past 14 years.

“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.

While Sandberg has long been Zuckerberg’s No. 2, even sitting next to him – pre-pandemic, at least – in the company’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters, she also had a very public-facing job, meeting with lawmakers, holding focus groups and speaking out on issues such as women in the workplace and, most recently, abortion.

“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,” Zuckerberg wrote.

Sandberg, who lost her husband Dave Goldberg suddenly in 2015, said she is “not entirely sure what the future will bring.”

“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 wrote, adding that she is also getting married this summer, and that parenting their expanded family of five children will also be a part of this future.

Adult in the room

Sandberg, 52, first helped Google build what quickly became the internet’s biggest – and most lucrative – advertising network before leaving that company to take on the challenge of transforming Facebook’s freewheeling social network into a money-making business while also helping to mentor Zuckerberg.

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