Sheryl Sandberg, the renowned former Chief Operating Officer of Meta, has announced her departure from the company’s board of directors. Sandberg, a prominent figure in the technology sector and one of the industry’s most notable female leaders, expressed that the timing felt right for her to step down, considering Meta’s strong positioning for future endeavors.
While she will be leaving the board, Sandberg plans to continue her association with Meta in an advisory capacity, offering informal guidance to the company. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, extended his gratitude to Sandberg for her significant and transformative contributions to the company during her tenure.
Joining the company back when it was a fledgling startup named Facebook, Sandberg, 54, has been instrumental in the evolution of the company’s advertising business into a lucrative entity. Her leadership played a key role as the company expanded its portfolio to include popular platforms like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. Apart from her corporate achievements, Sandberg gained global recognition for her literary work, notably her book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” which she described as a feminist manifesto.
Sandberg’s time at Meta was not without challenges. The company faced intense scrutiny and criticism under her leadership, dealing with issues such as misinformation during the 2016 U.S. election, the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal in 2018, and the Capitol riot in 2021.
In a heartfelt Facebook post, Sandberg reflected on her journey, expressing gratitude and cherishing the memories of her time as both COO for over 14 years and a board member for 12 years, describing it as the opportunity of a lifetime. Zuckerberg responded to her announcement with a comment on her post, acknowledging her extraordinary contributions and appreciating her dedication and guidance, which were pivotal in driving the company’s success.
Sandberg’s departure comes at a time when Meta is navigating through new challenges, including tightening social media regulations across various countries and adapting to changes in privacy rules introduced by Apple, which have impacted Meta’s targeted advertising business. Additionally, Meta is facing stagnation in user growth in key markets like the U.S. and is losing younger demographics to competitors such as TikTok.