Meta Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said Wednesday she is leaving the social network, signaling more changes underway at Facebook, which has already undergone new branding and business transformations in the last year.
Ms. Sandberg will remain on Meta’s board of directors following her departure as an executive after 14 years at the company, according to Meta spokesman Andy Stone.
“The debate around social media has changed beyond recognition in those early days. To say it hasn’t always been easy is an understatement,” Ms. Sandberg wrote in a Facebook post. “But it should be hard. 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.”
Meta CEO and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg touted Ms. Sandberg’s departure as the “end of an era.”
“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,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in reply to her. “I’m going to miss working alongside you every day, but grateful to have you as a lifelong friend.”
Facebook reorganized as Meta in 2021, and Ms. Sandberg’s exit comes as the company has focused more on its metaverse products, which involve augmented and virtual reality services for use to grow an alternate reality. The company also owns Instagram.
Ms. Sandberg said she intends to leave this fall and will work with Mr. Zuckerberg to transfer her responsibilities.
Ms. Sandberg left Google for Facebook and attracted positive attention for her work as an executive and her writing about women’s roles in the workplace, via the 2013 book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.”
In subsequent years, the book drew criticism from people who said they were no longer satisfied with her advice.
As a Facebook executive, Ms. Sandberg testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2018 regarding alleged election interference. She told the committee that her company knew it could not prevent interference on its own, but intended to work with law enforcement to stop foreign efforts.
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