June 1 (Reuters) – Chief Operating Officer of Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O), Sheryl Sandberg, whose close collaboration with CEO Mark Zuckerberg drove the growth of the world’s largest social network, leaves the company after 14 years, she said in a Facebook post Wednesday.
The announcement initially sent the social media company̵[ads1]7;s shares down by 4%, but the share was almost flat in trading after working hours.
“When I took this job in 2008, I was hoping to be in this role for five years. Fourteen years later, it’s time for me to write the next chapter in my life,” she wrote.
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Chief Growth Officer Javier Olivan will take over as chief operations officer, Zuckerberg said in a separate Facebook post, although he added that he had no plans to replace Sandberg’s role directly within the company’s existing structure.
“I think Meta has reached the point where it makes sense for our product and business groups to be more closely integrated, instead of having all the business and operational functions organized separately from our products,” he said.
Olivan has worked in Meta for more than 14 years and has led teams that handle Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.
Sandberg’s departure marks the end of an era for Meta, which shifts focus to hardware products and the “metaverse” after years of scandals over privacy breaches and the spread of conspiratorial content on the platforms, as well as plateauing user growth on the flagship app. Facebook.
Sandberg, deputy commander after founder Zuckerberg, who was 23 years old when he hired her, is one of the most visible leaders in the company and the chief architect of the often criticized advertising-based business model.
By bringing leadership experience and knowledge of the then-emerging digital advertising industry, she transformed Facebook from a busy startup to a high-income one, while positioning herself as the face of feminism in corporate America.
At the time, Facebook was earning $ 272 million in revenue, for a net loss of $ 56 million, according to regulatory records. In 2011, a year before the company’s IPO, revenues had increased to $ 3.7 billion of $ 1 billion in profits.
Meta ended 2021 with a turnover of 118 billion dollars and an income of 39.4 billion dollars.
Sandberg said in her post that she will continue to sit on Meta’s board after she left the company this autumn.
When asked about her next step, she told Reuters that she focused on philanthropy at a “critical moment for women.”
“We have hired so many great leaders. I feel very good about it. The next leadership team is in place to take the company forward,” she said, mentioning Chief Business Officer Marne Levine and President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg by name.
Sandberg has been a solid defender of Facebook during his many controversies, consistently arguing that leaders learned from their mistakes and refining the company’s tools to improve policing against harmful content.
She told Reuters last year that she and Zuckerberg had a responsibility to fix systems that had failed, while rejecting reports that she had lost power in the company.
“People love headlines about corporate drama, and I think it’s fair to say they especially love headlines about putting women on the sidelines,” she said in the January 2021 interview.
Sandberg’s tenure covered both Facebook’s initial settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission in 2011 for breaches of privacy and a subsequent major film settlement of $ 5 billion for breaches of the previous agreement.
She and Zuckerberg were among those who then commissioner Rohit Chopra said should have met more investigation for their role in the company’s behavior.
Under her leadership, the company was hit by revelations in 2018 that the British consulting company Cambridge Analytica had obtained data about millions of its US users in the wrong way to target election campaign advertising.
That same year, UN human rights investigators said the use of Facebook had played a key role in spreading hate speech that led to violence against the Rohingya community in Myanmar.
She came to further criticism when she told Reuters early last year that she believed events surrounding the January 6 attack on the US capital were largely organized on other platforms, although researchers had identified similar activity on Facebook as well.
Late last year, whistleblower Frances Haugen accused the social media giant of repeatedly prioritizing profits over cracking down on hate speech and misinformation, saying her lawyers had filed at least eight complaints with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Prior to joining Facebook, Sandberg was Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google and Chief of Staff to the US Treasury Department under former President Bill Clinton.
Sandberg, a graduate of Harvard University, is the author of several books, including the 2013 feminist manifesto “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.”
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Reporting by Katie Paul in Palo Alto; additional reporting by Gina Chon and Diane Bartz in Washington, Sheila Dang in Dallas and Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Edited by Arun Koyyur, Alistair Bell and Bernard Orr
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