Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook and its parent company Meta, has announced she will step down from her role, ending 14 years in the job that made her one of the most powerful figures in the tech world and saw the company weather a meteoric rise and multiple controversies.
Sandberg announced the move in a post on her own Facebook page on Wednesday, adding that she was not sure of what the future holds for her but plans to focus on her foundation and philanthropic work going forward.
She said she will leave the company this fall, but will continue to be on Meta’s board and thanked Meta founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg for his support, saying “sitting by Mark’s side for these 14 years has been the honor and privilege of a lifetime”.
“When I took this job in 2008, I hoped I would be in this role for five years,” she wrote. “Fourteen years later, it is time for me to write the next chapter of my life.”
The billionaire executive has been one of Facebook’s most prominent public faces since joining in 2008, shaping its policies and overseeing responses to the myriad public controversies the company has battled.
Her departure comes as Meta continues to weather a financial storm and shifts away from social media into virtual reality.
Facebook rebranded in 2021 to Meta, attempting to move its primary business away from social media and into virtual reality after a series of difficult years.
Zuckerberg has bet big on his hopes for the “metaverse”, an augmented and virtual reality space where people can interact through avatars in a shared world.
In a comment on Sandberg’s post announcing her leave, Zuckerberg said she had “architected our ads business, hired great people, forged our management culture, and taught me how to run a company”. He said in a post on his own page that Sandberg’s position would not be filled, and announced restructuring of existing roles at the company.
Sandberg’s departure also comes after billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel stepped down from Meta’s board, following the company’s worst-ever earnings report, suggesting some power players may be jumping ship as the company flounders.