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Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg to step down after joining Facebook 14 years ago

Mark Zuckerberg's second-in-command will leave the company this fall, with Meta VP Javier Olivan taking her place.
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Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Staff Writer on
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COO Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook Communities Summit 2019

Meta

Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg plans to step down from her role and leave the company this fall, she wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday. Javier Olivan, currently Meta's Chief Growth Officer and VP of Cross-Meta Products and Infrastructure, will become the company's next COO, CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed in his own post. 

As COO, Olivan will lead Meta's integrated ads and business products, in addition to continuing to lead its infrastructure, integrity, analytics, marketing, corporate development, and growth teams. Olivan will have "a more traditional COO role" than Sandberg, Zuckerberg said, which will be focused internally and operationally. 

"I think Meta has reached the point where it makes sense for our product and business groups to be more closely integrated, rather than having all the business and operations functions organized separately from our products," Zuckerberg wrote. 

Sandberg joined Facebook as Zuckerberg's second-in-command in 2008. 

"The debate around social media has changed beyond recognition since those early days," Sandberg wrote Wednesday. 

Her departure comes at a pivotal point for Meta, as it transitions from a collection of social networking platforms into a "metaverse company." The social media behemoth is also under pressure from global leaders to improve its content moderation policies; the company faces the daunting task of reining in malicious or harmful content without inappropriately censoring speech. 

After leaving the company, Sandberg said she plans to focus more on her foundation and philanthropic work. 

"I still believe as strongly as ever in our mission, and I am honored that I will continue to serve on Meta's board of directors," she added. 

In his post, Zuckerberg acknowledged Sandberg's huge impact on the company, noting that in 2008, he "barely knew anything about running a company."

"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," he wrote. "Sheryl architected our ads business, hired great people, forged our management culture, and taught me how to run a company."

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