Sheryl Sandberg leaves Meta as one of the highest-profile and most successful women in technology – and after more than $ 1.7 billion in stock sales.
Sandberg announced on Wednesday that she is resigning from her role as operational manager after 14 years in Meta, formerly known as Facebook. Sandberg will remain on the board of the social media company.
Sandberg’s fortune is estimated at $ 1.6 billion, according to Forbes, making her the second richest woman in technology after Meg Whitman. Whitman has previously held the top job at Hewlett Packard Enterprise and is worth an estimated $ 3.2 billion, according to Forbes.
Sandberg is also one of the rare non-CEOs and non-entrepreneurs who have become billionaires.
While many business leaders tend to hold on to the bulk of their shares as proof of trust in their companies, Sandberg has been an aggressive and consistent seller of Facebook (now Meta) shares.
Over the past decade, Sandberg has sold over 75% of its shares after tax through regular stock sales programs, according to research firms that track sales. In total, she sold over 22 million shares for more than $ 1[ads1].7 billion, according to research firm VerityData. Depending on the treatment of options and limited stock sales, the total may actually be higher, according to another research firm, Smart Insider, which estimates her stock sales at close to $ 1.9 billion.
“Her sales over the past decade make her one of the biggest insider sellers in any US company,” said Ben Silverman, research director at VerityData.
A spokeswoman for Sandberg said she bought 48 million limited shares, options and shares during her time in the company. Around 20 million were sold for tax, and she sold 22 million of the remaining 28 million through a 10b5-1 sales program in advance.
Sandberg paid out shares at a wide range of prices when the Facebook shares rose. The stock priced at $ 38 per share in the company’s IPO in 2012 and peaked above $ 382 per share in September.
Sandberg’s average share selling price over the past decade was $ 79.10 per share, according to VerityData, with her last sale in October 2019.
Despite his billionaire status, Sandberg has not shown a penchant for yachts, private jets and beach homes shown by other technological tycoons. According to media reports, in 2013 she moved into a newly built, 9,200 square meter home in Menlo Park, California, near Facebook’s headquarters, which has a wine room, gym, waterfall and solar panels on the roof.
Sandberg has also donated some of the proceeds from her sale to charity. In 2016, she donated $ 107.2 million to her donor-advised fund at Fidelity Charitable. At the time, she did not say which charities she would fund, but has said she plans to support programs that increase opportunities for women and girls.
Sandberg’s spokesperson said that she had given a total of reportable gifts of 4.9 million shares, with 2.8 million shares to her donor advisory fund and 2.1 million irrevocable transfers to trusts for beneficiaries. Smart Insider estimates that Sandberg has given away $ 484 million in shares.
In announcing her resignation on Wednesday, Sandberg said that the decision to leave Meta will allow her to focus more on her philanthropic work.
Sandberg has also been an active political donor, contributing to democratic candidates and often hosting democratic fundraisers.
She still owns nearly 1.5 million shares, with a current market value of around $ 290 million, in a revocable trust. She also has 333,642 shares of unearned limited shares, some of which can be earned before she leaves.
The Meta share closed on Wednesday at 188.64 dollars.