Longtime Meta Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg announced on Wednesday that she will be ending her tenure at the social media company.
“I am beyond grateful to the thousands of brilliant, dedicated people at Meta with whom I have had the privilege of working over the last 14 years,” Sandberg said on Facebook. “Every day someone does something that stops me in my tracks and reminds me how lucky I am to be surrounded by such remarkable colleagues. This team is filled with exceptionally talented people who have poured their hearts and minds into building products that have had a profound impact on the world.”
Sandberg — who joined Meta, previously called Facebook, in 2008 when founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was 23 years old — will be focusing on her personal philanthropy efforts and marrying television producer Tom Bernthal this summer, The New York Times reported. Sandberg’s organization, Lean In, campaigns against sexual harassment in the workplace and the purported “gender wage gap” while advocating for paid family leave.
Zuckerberg lauded Sandberg’s work at the company in another post to Facebook.
“Sheryl architected our ads business, hired great people, forged our management culture, and taught me how to run a company,” he said. “She created opportunities for millions of people around the world, and she deserves the credit for so much of what Meta is today.”
Sandberg — who will remain a member of Meta’s board of directors after leaving her position in the fall — was hired at Facebook after working as Google’s vice president of global online sales and operations, according to CNN. She has also worked at the World Bank and served in the Clinton administration’s Treasury Department. In the past, Sandberg financed Democratic candidates and made a $1 million donation to Planned Parenthood’s political arm in 2019.
“When Sheryl joined me… I barely knew anything about running a company,” Zuckerberg remarked. “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 organization.”
Last week, businessman Peter Thiel stepped down from Meta’s board to pursue other projects — namely, helping to elect Republican candidates in the midterm elections. In total, Thiel is backing four Senate candidates and 12 House candidates.
“He has served on our board for almost two decades, and we’ve always known that at some point he would devote his time to other interests,” Zuckerberg said of Thiel’s planned departure in February. “I’m grateful he’s served on our board for as long as he has, and I wish him the best in his journey ahead.”
Last year, Meta — which also owns Instagram and Whatsapp — explained its pivot away from the Facebook brand name by announcing its intent to “build the metaverse, a place where we’ll play and connect in 3D. Welcome to the next chapter of social connection.”
“Today we’re seen as a social media company,” Zuckerberg explained, “but in our DNA, we are a company that builds technology to connect people. And the metaverse is the next frontier just like social networking was when we got started.”