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Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg Quits After 14 Years; Her Controversial Yet Influential Journey
Sheryl Sandberg, Meta's COO, is stepping down after 14 years. Meta's second-in-command announced her departure from the company via a Facebook post on Wednesday. "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", wrote Sheryl Sandberg while remembering her time at Meta.
As part of her transition, Sandberg will step down from her position as Facebook's co-chief operating officer in the fall but will remain on Meta's board of directors. She has led Meta's advertising business for many years and made the company quite profitable during her tenure. Meta's advertising business grew by over $100 billion strong under her leadership.
Facebook’s First Female Board Member
An Ex-Google employee, Sandberg joined Facebook in 2008 and was elected to Facebook's board of directors in June 2012 to become the first woman to serve on its board. In the same year, she was included in the Time 100 list of the world's most influential people.
Sandberg first met Mark Zuckerberg at a holiday party in 2007 and recalled the challenges she faced in her early days at Facebook. "Sitting by Mark's side for these 14 years has been the honour and privilege of a lifetime," said Sandberg.
Her Legacy At Meta
Sheryl is leaving behind a great team and some high-performing products for Meta that will keep driving business. Her team included Nick Clegg and Jennifer Newstead. Nick is currently serving as the President of Global Affairs at Meta, and Jennifer is the Chief Legal Officer. "I'm going to miss running this company with Sheryl," said Mark Zuckerberg, in his farewell post to Sandberg.
He named Javier Olivan as Meta's next Chief Operating Officer but also mentioned that his role will be a more traditional COO role. Javi will focus on Meta's internal and broad operational matters. He will lead Meta's integrated ads and business products. He will also lead the integrity analytics, marketing, corporate development and growth terms for Meta.
Brushing Shoulders With Controversy
During the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018, Sandberg faced criticism for her role in handling the company's public relations. A report on HuffPost mentioned that she downplayed the extent of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and responded slowly and ineffectively to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
In one of her interviews on Friday's Today show, She admitted that Facebook could have prevented the privacy scandal if the team had audited Cambridge Analytica's data holdings. "We made mistakes and I own them and they are on me," she told the FT during a media apology tour after the Cambridge Analytica controversy.
A report published on dailymail.co.uk mentioned that Mark Zuckerberg blamed Sheryl Sandberg for the fallout surrounding the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Notably, Mark took some time, almost a week to respond to the media when the news of the data leak erupted in 2018. Mark Zuckerberg is still facing the consequences. He was recently sued by the attorney general of Washington DC for his role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
What’s Next For Sheryl Sandberg?
Sandberg hasn't spoken about her career plans for the future. She is getting married this summer and plans to devote more time to philanthropic work, as well as spend time with her extended family of five children. Mark Zuckerberg hopes to benefit from Sandberg's experience and wisdom as she will continue to serve Meta's board of directors in the coming months.