5 years. That’s how lengthy Sheryl Sandberg figured she’d be spending at Fb, now called Meta, when she took the job as chief working officer and Mark Zuckerberg’s much-ballyhooed accomplice in 2008. Sufficient time to modulate the corporate’s swaggering tradition into one thing sustainable, construct a wildly profitable advert enterprise, and arrange a coverage operation in DC. And to determine herself as a world customary setter for feminine executives. Then she’d be off—possibly to run for workplace or to go an enormous firm like Disney.
Nevertheless it wasn’t till right now, 14 years later, that Sheryl Sandberg has announced she is leaving the corporate. For an formidable company celebrity like Sandberg, 14 years on the identical publish—and never the highest one—is an eternity. Most observers pegged her as leaving a while in the past, both compelled out by the collapse of the corporate’s popularity within the wake of relentless privacy and content management scandals or just wearied by having to defend it on a regular basis. However she caught round so lengthy that even the corporate’s identify modified.
So who can deny her the flowery prose of her 1,529-word farewell publish—appropriate for a Medium “I’ve received private information” essay however loyally posted on the Fb blue app Feed—the place she profusely thanked her colleagues and boasted of all the nice issues her firm did for its customers and small enterprise house owners. She even cited some random girl in Poland who sells stuffed animals on the platform. Like each different public communication coming from her, it was fastidiously crafted, to the purpose that you may hardly inform the corporate is among the many world’s most castigated. The scathing a part of the information got here not in her upbeat resignation letter, however in Zuckerberg’s farewell to her.
Sandberg’s tenure would all the time be shadowed by the deal she made with Zuckerberg when she joined. Whereas she reported to Zuckerberg, the then-23-year-old CEO gave her large autonomy over sure components of the corporate—the non-product domains that him the least. It made sense for Sandberg to take cost of promoting advertisements. However in response to The Deal, her world additionally included communications, lobbying, coverage, and different non-engineering areas. At one level, the chief safety officer reported to the final counsel, who reported to Sandberg. When issues fell aside after the 2016 election, the troubles in Sandberg’s world had been gradual to seek out their strategy to Zuckerberg. The results had been disastrous. Zuckerberg later defined to me that he didn’t see The Deal as a mistake, however a necessity. “It will have been unimaginable, not having the life expertise in all these areas, to internalize all of the totally different components of what operating an organization may very well be,” he advised me.
In his publish right now, Zuckerberg dolloped out applicable gratitude and reward for his departing COO. However whereas Sandberg’s essay painted her tenure within the rosiest tones conceivable, Zuckerberg’s assertion was an enormous company course correction. He proclaimed that Sandberg’s departure marked the top of an period—after which he mandated modifications to Meta’s group to verify nothing like that period will ever occur once more. Sandberg’s putative successor, Javier Olivan, will assume “a extra conventional COO position,” he wrote. Olivan, who reduce his tooth on the corporate’s runaway progress group, gained’t be operating components of the corporate on his personal, as Sheryl initially did.
A few of that had already been in movement. The primary huge change got here final yr when Zuckerberg gave the responsibility for coverage and communications to senior VP Nick Clegg, who previously reported to Sandberg. The chief authorized officer, Jennifer Newstead, was additionally shifted to a Zuckerberg direct report. However right now, whilst Zuckerberg celebrated Sandberg, he ripped up her group and put it extra straight beneath his management. The top of HR, Lori Goler, will report back to him as properly. That places Maxine Williams, the chief range officer, additionally in Zuckerberg’s area.