Sheryl Sandberg, one of Facebook’s top executives, made the shocking revelation Thursday that she will quit, following a 14-year stint in which she helped shepherd the social media giant to advertising supremacy.
Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced in a separate Facebook post that Chief Growth Officer Javier Olivan will succeed Sandberg as chief operating officer. However, Zuckerberg added that it was not part of his plan to replace Sandberg’s role directly within Meta’s current structure.
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Facebook CEO Zuckerberg Calls Sandberg A ‘Superstar’
Zuckerberg lauded Sandberg in a Thursday Facebook post, stating that it was “rare for a business partnership like ours to last so long” and that she is a “superstar who defined the COO role in her own unique way.”
The statement initially caused a 5 percent dip in Facebook’s share price, but the stock was nearly unchanged during Thursday’s extended trading session.
According to Debra Williamson, an analyst at Insider Intelligence, there have been numerous problems involving Meta, “but from a purely financial perspective, what Sandberg established at the company is quite powerful” and will be part of history.
Sandberg joined the social media company in early 2008 as second in command to Zuckerberg, and helped transform it into an advertising behemoth and one of the most dominating entities in the internet industry, with a market valuation that at a certain point surpassed $1 trillion.
New Focus: Humanitarian Work And… Marriage
Sandberg stated in a Facebook post that she planned to focus on humanitarian work and her foundation, Lean In, in the future. She also disclosed that she would be tying the knot with Tom Bernthal, a television producer, this summer.
The 52-year-old Sandberg, one of the most prominent women in Silicon Valley, stated, “When I took this job in 2008, I wanted to be in this capacity for five years… after 14 years, it’s time for me to write the next chapter of my life.”
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Uncertain Future For The Social Media Giant
Sandberg’s exit comes at a time when Facebook faces an unknown future and intense competition from rivals like TikTok.
The number of Facebook users has stopped growing in key markets like the United States, and Facebook has lost younger users to competitors like TikTok.
Meta owns Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. Meanwhile, during Zuckerberg’s quest for the metaverse, Sandberg has kept a quiet profile.
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Meta has been criticized in recent years for its immense reach, its inability to prevent the spread of disinformation and malicious content, and its takeover of former competitors such as Instagram and WhatsApp.
Multiple times over the past three years, Zuckerberg and other top executives have been required to appear before the U.S. Congress, although Sandberg has mainly avoided the media.
Williamson said, “The organization must find a new path forward, and this may have been the most ideal time for Sandberg to leave.”
Featured image from CBS News, chart from TradingView.com