Sheryl Sandberg is stepping down as Meta's COO after 14 years. She and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will transition her direct reports over the next few months and Sandberg (pictured) will officially leave Meta in the fall. She retains a seat on the company's board. Her departure comes shortly after the company kicked off a review on whether Sandberg has violated internal rules after reports of her allegedly pressuring MailOnline to drop a potential article about her then-boyfriend and Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick surfaced.
"When I took this job in 2008, I hoped I would be in this role for five years. Fourteen years later, it is time for me to write the next chapter of my life," she said in a Facebook post. She is also "beyond grateful to the thousands of brilliant, dedicated people at Meta with whom I have had the privilege of working over the last 14 years". Before Meta, Sandberg was with Google for six years as VP, global online sales and operations.
Zuckerberg called this "the end of an era", adding that he has no plans to replace Sandberg's exact role in its existing structure. Javier Olivan, current chief growth officer and VP, cross Meta products and infrastructure, will be taking over as COO in what Zuckerberg described as "a more traditional role", different from what Sandberg has done.
"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," Zuckerberg explained. Olivan will lead the company's integrated ads and business products in addition to continuing to lead Meta's infrastructure, integrity, analytics, marketing, corporate development, and growth teams.
According to Zuckerberg, Sandberg architected the company's ads business, hired great people, forged its management culture, and taught him how to run a company. Her efforts have helped turn Meta into a tech giant, with the company hitting a US$1 trillion market cap for the first time last June. The company posted US$27 billion in ad revenue during the first quarter of the year. Meanwhile, Meta reported nearly US$115 billion in advertising revenue last year.
Zuckerberg added that one of Sandberg's greatest legacies is the incredible team she has built and some of them have already stepped up into larger roles reporting to Zuckerberg. They include Nick Clegg as president, global affairs and Jennifer Newstead as chief legal officer. Sandberg also witnessed the rebranding of Meta from Facebook last October as the company shifted its focus to the metaverse and endured one of the biggest crisis the company's history - Cambridge Analytica.
Moving forward, as COO, Olivan will be focused internally and operationally, building on his track record of making Meta's more efficient and rigorous. As part of this, Molly Cutler, Meta's VP, strategic response, will join Olivan's team and report to head of product Naomi Gleit.
Alongside Olivan's promotion, Meta's chief business officer Marne Levine will report to Olivan so that Meta's ads and business platform product group will be closer to the Meta Business Group, Zuckerberg explained. At the same time, Instagram's COO Justin Osofsky will report to Meta's chief product officer Chris Cox.
In addition to his role overseeing global operations and Instagram's business organisation, Osofsky will now take on the additional responsibility of building a content team that works across business and product that will train the company's AI systems to help users discover the most interesting, relevant, and personalised content across Facebook and Instagram. Meta's head of people, Lori Goler, now reports directly to Zuckerberg while chief diversity officer Maxine Williams will continue her role on Meta's people team.
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