Sheryl Sandberg will leave Meta Platforms as COO after 14 years as the company’s second-highest executive, where she helped build Facebook into the social media behemoth it is today. Sandberg will step down as the company’s No. 2 leader in the autumn after spending the next two months transitioning her direct reports with founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. She will remain on Meta’s board of directors.
The transition was dubbed a “end of an era” by Zuckerberg, who said that he had no plans to replace Sandberg’s specific job in the company’s structure. Javier Olivan, Zuckerberg’s current chief growth officer and one of the company’s most influential but lesser-known executives, will take over as COO in a “more typical” COO job, according to Zuckerberg. This, along with the fact that Meta’s main legal and HR executive now report directly to Zuckerberg, consolidates power in his hands even further.
More recently, Zuckerberg has renamed the firm Meta and is spending extensively in expanding its social technologies beyond 2D to include virtual and augmented reality in the metaverse. Sandberg joined the firm in 2008 to assist Zuckerberg, who was then 23 years old, in navigating the route to an IPO and building an ad business, which she has headed ever since. She’d previously spent six years at Google, where she helped build up the company’s online sales channels for AdWords and AdSense.
The ad business at Meta has been under attack from all sides in recent years, as Apple and regulators cut down on Facebook’s capacity to target advertisements, resulting to a steep drop in revenue growth and Meta’s stock price.