Sheryl Sandberg is stepping down as chief operating officer at Meta Platforms in the midst of a tumultuous time at the company formerly known as Facebook. She will continue to serve on the board of directors.
The company’s chief growth officer, Javier Olivan, will take over as COO after a transition period. But Mark Zuckerberg said his role will be less sweeping. “I don’t plan to replace Sheryl’s role in our existing structure. I’m not sure that would be possible since she’s a superstar who defined the COO role in her own unique way. But even if it were possible, I think Meta has reached the point where it makes sense for our product and business groups to be more closely integrated, rather than having all the business and operations functions organized separately from our products,” he said in a Facebook post.
“This role will be different from what Sheryl has done. It will be a more traditional COO role where Javi will be focused internally and operationally, building on his strong track record of making our execution more efficient and rigorous.”
One of the highest ranking women in the business and tech world, Sandberg joined the former Facebook in 2008 as founder Mark Zuckerberg’s no. 2. She authored the 2013 bestselling Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.
In a Facebook post of her Wednesday announcing her big news, she thanked her longtime boss and said, “The debate around social media has changed beyond recognition since those early days.”
“To say it hasn’t always been easy is an understatement. But it should be hard. The products we make have a huge impact, so we have the responsibility to build them in a way that protects privacy and keeps people safe. I know that the extraordinary team at Meta will continue to work tirelessly to rise to these challenges and keep making our company and our community better. I also know that our platforms will continue to be an engine of growth for the businesses around the world that rely on us,” she wrote.
“It is time for me to write the next chapter of my life,” Sandberg wrote on a post on Facebook. “I am not entirely sure what the future will bring.” She said she will step down in the fall.
Before joining Facebook, Sandberg was vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, chief of staff for the United States Treasury Department under President Clinton, a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, and an economist with the World Bank.
Meta, whose assets include Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp, changed its name last year to reflect Zuckerberg’s new focus and massive financial investment in the burgeoning but confusing metaverse, which he calls the future of social interaction. The stock symbol for the Nasdaq-traded shares had remained FB but news came yesterday that would be changing as well, to META.
Olivan has served in various positions with the company since October of 2007, most recently as the chief growth officer and VP, Cross-Meta Products and Infrastructure since January, 2022. Previously, he was VP, Central Products from 2018 to 2022, VP, Growth from 2011 to 2018, and head of International Growth from 2007 to 2011. He served in various roles at Siemens AG before joining Meta.
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