Sheryl Sandberg, a name as relatable with Facebook as founder-chief executive Mark Zuckerberg himself, has announced that she will be leaving the company after a 14-year stint at the company. The executive saw Facebook through its tumultuous growth phase, as well as its biggest controversies till date – and is also responsible for shaping Facebook’s targeted advertisements business model.
Sandberg will be replaced by Javier Olivan as the new chief operating officer (COO), another company veteran who has been at the company for over 14 years. Through his time at the company, he has headed teams working on all of the Meta group’s products – including Instagram and WhatsApp.
Through her stint, Sandberg has been one of the most visible Facebook executives, helming the company as Zuckerberg’s second in command. The ex-COO of the Facebook group saw the company through the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which has since led the company on to facing numerous lawsuits with regards to the way it treats user data.
At the centre of Facebook’s data usage was the targeted ad-based revenue model that Sandberg helped build, which despite lawsuits, has turned the company into a behemoth. When Sandberg started at Facebook in 2008, the company was making losses of $56 million. As of Meta group’s regulatory filing from last year, the company’s net profit today stands at nearly $40 billion.
Through her time in charge, Sandberg has seen the Facebook group take over WhatsApp and Instagram – both moves that have attracted regulatory action regarding Facebook’s predatory market practices. However, despite all the legal challenges, Sandberg has undeniably had a massive impact on what is one of the biggest technology corporations in the world right now.
Interestingly, Sandberg leaves the company when Meta is looking to pivot towards hardware, and Zuckerberg’s vision of the metaverse with Horizon Worlds. Meta has recently opened its first physical store where users can get Ray-Ban’s smart glasses, Facebook’s own Oculus virtual reality headsets, and other related accessories.
However, Zuckerberg mentioned in a separate post that he did not plan to directly replace Sandberg’s role, which means that Olivan will be playing a slightly different role at the company. How this pans out will remain to be seen going forward.