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Sheryl Sandberg Quitting Meta/Facebook

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg (Sandberg’s Facebook page)

After 14 years of service, Sheryl Sandberg has announced that she will be leaving Facebook and its parent company Meta in the fall. Sandberg currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer COO of Meta. The 52-year-old executive will be replaced by Javier Olivan, the company’s chief growth officer, but will continue to serve on Meta’s board of directors.

Cheryl Sandberg issued a rather lengthy statement of more than 1,500 words explaining the reasons for her departure on her personal Facebook page.

“When I first met Mark, I was not really looking for a new job – and I could have never predicted how meeting him would change my life.” She said about how she came to work for Facebook. Sandberg went on to tell the story of how she met Zuckerberg at a party, without any previous thoughts about joining his company.

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“I had tried The Facebook, as it was first called,” she said, explaining how meeting Mark Zuckerberg is what sold her on Facebook, “but still thought the internet was a largely anonymous place to search for funny pictures. Mark’s belief that people would put their real selves online to connect with other people was so mesmerizing that we stood by that door and talked for the rest of the night.”

Sheryl Sandberg said that it still took months, however, and many dinners for Mark Zuckerberg to convince her to come on board.

Sandberg added that she asked Zuckerberg for 3 things as a condition of working for Facebook: that the two would sit next to each other at meetings, that he would meet with her one-on-one every week, and that in those meetings he would give her honest feedback when he thought that she had “messed something up.” Mark Zuckerberg agreed to all three, adding that the feedback would have to be mutual.

“Sitting by Mark’s side for these 14 years has been the honor and privilege of a lifetime. Mark is a true visionary and a caring leader,” added Sandberg about her personal relationship with Mark Zuckerberg. “He sometimes says that we grew up together, and we have. He was just 23 and I was already 38 when we met, but together we have been through the massive ups and downs of running this company, as well as his marriage to the magnificent Priscilla, the sorrow of their miscarriages and the joy of their childbirths, the sudden loss of Dave (her late husband), my engagement to Tom, and so much more. In the critical moments of my life, in the highest highs and in the depths of true lows, I have never had to turn to Mark, because he was already there.”
Sandberg said that she was “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.”

“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 also had a few words acknowledging the recent controversies over the content on Facebook and Instagram, including trolling and fake news feeds. “The products we make have a huge impact, so we have the responsibility to build them in a way that protects privacy and keeps people safe,” she acknowledged. “I and the dedicated people of Meta have felt our responsibilities deeply. I know that the extraordinary team at Meta will continue to work tirelessly to rise to these challenges and keep making our company and our community better. I also know that our platforms will continue to be an engine of growth for the businesses around the world that rely on us.”

However, she made no mention of any of the specific controversies that have cast a shadow over Facebook/Meta I recent years, such as the Cambridge Analytics scandal in which the company allowed a third party access to its users’ private information.

Sandberg concluded her post by saying how proud she is of her entire team at Meta and by making the usual thank you comments.

Mark Zuckerberg responded to Sheryl Sandberg’s announcement by calling her leaving the company an end of an era. Addressing Sandberg directly, he said, “In the 14 years we’ve worked together, you’ve architected our ads business, hired great people, forged our management culture, and taught me how to run a company. I’m going to miss working alongside you every day, but grateful to have you as a lifelong friend.”

Zuckerberg went on to thank her on behalf of himself, his family the company and for millions of people around the world. “You’re a superstar,” he told Sheryl Sandberg.



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