Sheryl Sandberg, the manager responsible for day-to-day business at Facebook parent Meta, wants to leave the company in the fall after 14 years. However, she wants to remain on the Meta board of directors, Sandberg wrote on Facebook. She doesn’t know what the future holds for her. But she plans to focus on her foundation and philanthropic work going forward, the 52-year-old said. Manager Javier Olivan, previously Chief Growth Officer, will take over her job.
Meta shares fell by around four percent at times as a result of the news of the departure. Sandberg gained his first experience at Google and joined Facebook in 2008. As the person responsible for the operational business, she played a leading role in the network growing from a relatively small player in the online business to a billion-dollar corporation. Most notably, she spearheaded the personalized advertising model that brought billions of dollars in revenue to Facebook.
“This is the end of an era,” said Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He recalled that he hired Sandberg as a 23-year-old in 2008 “after countless dinners”. At that time he didn’t understand anything about corporate management himself – Sandberg taught him that. “I will miss working with you,” Zuckerberg wrote in a comment below Sandberg’s post. “Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, my family and our company.”
In recent years there has been speculation about a cooled relationship between the 38-year-old Zuckerberg and Sandberg – which has always been rejected. Both continued to be in direct contact every week. “Mark is a true visionary and leader,” Sandberg said in her farewell post.
After years of growth, Facebook’s image began to crumble from 2018 – and with it that of Sandberg. In particular, Sandberg didn’t know the right answer to the debates about fake news, opinion manipulation and the role of the network in the rise of Donald Trump.
Facebook is in transition right now. The Silicon Valley company is aligning itself with the metaverse and wants to dominate the device-accessible, fully connected and interoperable world. However, Zuckerberg is making slow progress with his vision.
Sandberg was long considered his right-hand man, vehemently defending the business model based on advertising revenue in the media and at conferences such as the World Economic Forum in Davos. Before working for Facebook, the economist worked for Google and acted as Chief of Staff at the US Treasury Department. She also worked at McKinsey for a while.
The Harvard graduate also made a name for herself as a writer. Her equality book “Lean In” is an international bestseller. Sandberg now wants to focus on her foundation and philanthropic work first, as well as her blended family with her soon-to-be husband Tom Bernthal. The father of her two children and SurveyMonkey boss, Dave Goldberg, died in 2015.