Sheryl Sandberg, the second most powerful executive at Facebook — now Meta, is leaving the company after 14 years.
In a long post on the social media platform, Meta chief operating officer (COO) Sandberg said her exit will be effective from this fall.
Javier Olivan, who has been named as the next COO, will now lead the company's integrated ads and business products in addition to continuing to lead its infrastructure, integrity, analytics, marketing, corporate development and growth teams.
"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," Sandberg wrote on the social media platform.
Sharing her experience of working at the tech giant, Sandberg said, "When I joined Facebook, I had a two-year-old son and a six-month-old daughter. I did not know if this was the right time for a new and demanding role. The messages were everywhere that women — and I — could not be both a leader and a good mother, but I wanted to give it a try. Once I started, I realised that to see my children before they went to sleep, I had to leave the office at 5:30 p.m., which was when work was just getting going for many of my new colleagues. In my previous role at Google, there were enough people and buildings that leaving early wasn't noticed, but Facebook was a small startup and there was nowhere to hide. More out of necessity than bravery, I found my nerve and walked out early anyway. Then, supported by Mark, I found my voice to admit this publicly and then talk about the challenges women face in the workplace. My hope was to make this a bit easier for others and help more women believe they can and should lead."
After her exit, Sandberg will continue to serve on Meta's board of directors.
Commenting on Sandberg's decision to leave the firm, Meta co-founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote, "When Sheryl joined me in 2008, I was only 23 years old and I barely knew anything about running a company. We'd built a great product — the Facebook website — but we didn't yet have a profitable business and we were struggling to transition from a small startup to a real organisation. Sheryl architected our ads business, hired great people, forged our management culture, and taught me how to run a company. She created opportunities for millions of people around the world, and she deserves the credit for so much of what Meta is today."
Zuckerberg further said that "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 organised separately from our products."