We knew it was happening, but Meta has confirmed that longtime COO Sheryl Sandberg has stepped down from her role as of yesterday (August 1st).
News broke on June 1 that Sandberg would step down after more than 14 years in the position and be replaced by Chief Development Officer Javier Olivan, though no specific date was given. But in one The SEC filing yesterday, Meta revealed that the transition is now complete. Moving forward, Sandberg will remain an employee of Meta until September 30, 2022, after which she will continue to serve purely as a board member.
Meta is fighting
The change comes at a difficult time for Meta, after it just reported its first quarterly revenue decline, while the FTC also confirmed it sued Meta to block its acquisition of VR fitness studio Within. Additionally, Meta can’t seem to shake off the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, an episode that involved a British political consulting firm capturing data from Facebook as a means of predicting and influencing voter behavior through targeted ads. After nearly four years of legal wrangling, a class-action lawsuit moved one step closer last month when it was confirmed that co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Sandberg they would both be deposedin a upcoming hearing which could see both executives log up to 11 hours in total. Court documents also revealed that new COO Olivan will testify for up to 3 hours.
Sandberg’s departure represents part of a broader restructuring at Meta, with Chief Financial Officer (CFO) David Wehner slated to take on the role of Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) on Nov. 1, a move that some may interpret as aiming to give confidence in investors. that he is making moves to stabilize the old Meta ship. Elsewhere, current vice president of finance, Susan Li, will assume the role of CFO.
Sandberg’s departure represents a watershed moment in Meta/Facebook history, given how much she contributed to the company’s evolution into the big money-making machine it is today. In a post back in JuneZuckerberg noted that Olivan would not be Sandberg’s immediate replacement in terms of his role, even if the job title remains the same — Olivan will head Meta’s advertising and business products and oversee teams that focus on “infrastructure, integrity, analytics, marketing, corporate growth and development,” he wrote.
“Looking forward, I do not intend to replace Sheryl’s role in our existing structure,” Zuckerberg noted. “I’m not sure that would be possible, as she is a superstar who has defined the role of COO in her own unique way. But even if it were possible, I think Meta has gotten to the point where it makes sense for our product and business teams to be more tightly integrated, rather than having all business and operational functions organized separately from our products.”