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Sheryl Sandberg to leave Facebook, stepping down as Meta COO

Sheryl Sandberg to leave Facebook, stepping down as Meta COO
Sheryl Sandberg is stepping down as Chief Operating Officer at Facebook parent company Meta. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

June 1 (UPI) -- Sheryl Sandberg is stepping down as Chief Operating Officer at Facebook parent company Meta, after joining the social media giant 14 years ago.

Sandberg, 52, has served second in line to Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg since 2008, and is credited with turning the social media startup into one of the most powerful companies in the tech industry.

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Sandberg told Zuckerberg about her decision over the weekend and said she will remain on the board at Meta, which oversees Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

"Sitting by Mark's side for these 14 years has been the honor and privilege of a lifetime," Sandberg said on Facebook in a post announcing her decision to step down.

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"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. But I know it will include focusing more on my foundation and philanthropic work."

Sandberg is credited with generating billions in advertising revenue and improving Facebook's relationship with the public and regulators. She also leveraged her elevated profile by championing women in the workplace with her 2013 book "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead."

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Sandberg is leaving Meta as the company shifts its business model to focus on products that enable the virtual reality-driven metaverse.

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Sandberg said her decision to step down also will allow her to focus more on her family as she remarries this summer, seven years after the unexpected death of her husband Dave Goldberg.

Zuckerberg called Sandberg's departure, in his own Facebook post, the "end of an era."

"When Sheryl joined me in 2008, I was only 23 years old and I barely knew anything about running a company," Zuckerberg said. "Sheryl architected our ads business, hired great people, forged our management culture and taught me how to run a company."

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Zuckerberg also announced plans for the future, with Meta's chief growth officer Javier Olivan expected to take over as Meta's COO this fall.

"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."

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