Sheryl Sandberg, whose 14-year run at Facebook was marked by record sales and a string of controversies, is stepping down as chief operating officer of Meta Platforms Inc.
“Today, I am sharing the news that after 14 years, I will be leaving Meta,” Sandberg said in a Facebook post Wednesday.
In an interview with Bloomberg News, Sandberg said her decision didn’t come lightly “but it’s been 14 years. I want to make more room to do more philanthropically, to do more with my foundation.”
Sandberg, 52, one of the most recognized faces in tech, helped transform the company into a multibillion-dollar advertising powerhouse valued at $524 billion, will remain on the board of Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, the company said.
Sandberg played a crucial role in transforming the social media giant into an advertising powerhouse that generated nearly $120 billion in revenue last year. She authored the best-selling “Lean In” in 2013 that led to a national conversation on women in the workplace. But she took her lumps along with Zuckerberg for Facebook’s numerous privacy and policy missteps over the years, leading to repeated vows by both to clean up Facebook’s ecosystem to assuage consumers and regulators.
Javier Olivan will succeed Sandberg as COO when she formally steps down in the fall, though Zuckerberg said his role would not be as substantial as the one Sandberg has played through the years.
“Looking forward, 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,” he wrote, before adding that Olivan’s task “will be a more traditional COO role.”
Facebook shares fell after the news hit just before the close of markets, pushing the stock to a daily decline of more than 2%.