Meta Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who’s known as Mark Zuckerberg’s right-hand woman, is stepping down from her role after 14 years this fall.
Sandberg joined Facebook during its early years, and she will continue to serve on its board of directors despite leaving her position. Vice president of central products Javier Olivan will be taking on her title but not the exact role, Politico reported.
In a Facebook post, Sandberg said:
“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. I am not entirely sure what the future will bring – I have learned no one ever is. But I know it will include focusing more on my foundation and philanthropic work, which is more important to me than ever given how critical this moment is for women. And as Tom and I get married this summer, parenting our expanded family of five children. Over the next few months, Mark and I will transition my direct reports and I will leave the company this fall. I still believe as strongly as ever in our mission, and I am honored that I will continue to serve on Meta’s board of directors.”
Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg replied with his gratitude for Sandberg’s contributions to the company:.
“The end of an era. In the 14 years we’ve worked together, you’ve architected our ads business, hired great people, forged our management culture, and taught me how to run a company,” he said. “I’m going to miss working alongside you every day, but grateful to have you as a lifelong friend. Thank you for all you’ve done for me and my family, for our company, and for millions of people around the world. You’re a superstar.”
CBS News reports that under Sandberg’s watch since 2008, Facebook went from 100 million users to 3 billion and grew from 500 to roughly 80,000 employees.
The businesswoman’s departure comes amid reports that she was losing her grip at the company for months, according to Business Insider. The New York Times reported last October that her working relationship with Zuckerberg was damaged following intense political scrutiny of the company, with the publication citing former President Donald Trump as the cause.
While she may not have had as significant an impact in recent years, it’s clear that she effectively changed how the world interacts with the internet. Whether one loves it or hates it, Facebook (and their other massive social media platform, Instagram) plays a massive role in how billions of people interact with each other personally, professionally, and politically.
As numerous controversies will continue to swirl around Meta, both the legacies of Sandberg and Zuckerberg will be checkered and debated, but they undoubtedly changed the fabric of the technology industry.