Sheryl Sandberg, the tech executive who became known over her years with Facebook as the most powerful woman in Silicon Valley, announced on Wednesday that she is leaving the social media platform’s parent company, Meta Platforms, after 14 years.
Meta’s chief operating officer, whose years in the limelight peaked after the release of her bestseller, “Lean In,” came to define an era of women in the workforce, announced the news in a post on her Facebook page.
“When I took this job in 2008, I hoped I would be in this role for five years. Fourteen years later, it is time for me to write the next chapter of my life,” she wrote. “I am not entirely sure what the future will bring – I have learned no one ever is. But I know it will include focusing more on my foundation and philanthropic work, which is more important to me than ever given how critical this moment is for women.”
The post also mentions that Sandberg will be marrying her partner, Tom Bernthal, this summer as the couple raises the five children in their blended family. She also wrote that she will be working on transitioning her reports and responsibilities with Meta and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, to whom she has served as a steadfast no. 2 over the years.
Zuckerberg’s is the first comment displayed on Sandberg’s early afternoon Facebook post.
“The end of an era,” he wrote directly to Sandberg. “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. Thank you for all you’ve done for me and my family, for our company, and for millions of people around the world. You’re a superstar.”
Sandberg joined Meta, which was then called Facebook, from an executive role at Google after she met Zuckerberg at a holiday party and the two quickly became a united force that saw Facebook through massive and continuous growth, a successful IPO and seemingly endless revenue. Meanwhile, Sandberg carved out a niche for herself as a champion of women in leadership positions with her 2013 bestseller Lean In and the subsequent founding of the Lean In Foundation, a non-profit that seeks to lift up women through community, education, and peer group networking.
But reports emerged recently about Sandberg’s diminished profile amid Meta’s recent scandals and apparently a now-strained relationship with Zuckerberg. In April, a report in the Wall Street Journal stated that Sandberg had leveraged the influence that her powerful role granted her to twice squash a tabloid’s damning story about her then-romantic partner.
Prior to her role at Meta, Sandberg was the vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google and served as chief of staff for the United States Treasury Department under Bill Clinton. Earlier in her career, she had a run as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company and had a role as an economist with the World Bank.
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