Sheryl Sandberg is leaving Meta’s board, cutting her last tie after joining in 2008 as Mark Zuckerberg’s chief lieutenant

Connie Queline

Sheryl Sandberg is leaving Meta’s board, cutting her last tie after joining in 2008 as Mark Zuckerberg’s chief lieutenant

Meta director and former Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said she will step down from the board this year, exiting her last official role at the social media company she helped grow from a promising internet startup into a digital-advertising stalwart.

“With a heart filled with gratitude and a mind filled with memories, I let the Meta board know that I will not stand for reelection this May,” Sandberg wrote Wednesday in a post on Meta’s flagship Facebook network. “Going forward, I will serve as an adviser to the company, and I will always be there to help the Meta teams.”

Sandberg, 54, joined Facebook in 2008 as No. 2 to co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to oversee the fledgling company’s advertising, partnerships, business development and operations, following stints at Google, McKinsey & Co. and the US Department of the Treasury. She left her job as COO of the company, by then rebranded as Meta, in 2022. 

During her time at the tech giant, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, Sandberg was key to turning the social network into a money-making machine and one of the world’s biggest companies. In 2022 Meta brought in almost $117 billion in revenue, most of it from targeted advertising.

She often served as the public face of the business, particularly among policymakers and regulators. As criticism of Facebook and its platforms mounted in more recent years, including bruising scandals over lapses in privacy and content moderation, Sandberg increasingly retreated from the spotlight.

“Your dedication and guidance have been instrumental in driving our success,” Zuckerberg wrote in a comment on Sandberg’s Facebook post. “I am grateful for your unwavering commitment to me and Meta over the years.” 

It’s unclear if Meta plans to replace Sandberg on the board, which now has eight other members, including Zuckerberg as chairman. A company spokesperson said Meta consistently evaluates how to grow the board, but declined to offer further details.

Since leaving the COO role at Meta, Sandberg has spent more time on philanthropic efforts. Her nonprofit organization, LeanIn.Org, launched a program for girls 11 to 15 called Lean In Girls, aiming to teach lessons about resilience, positive risk-taking and leadership. She was also part of a team of investors that brought a women’s professional soccer club to the San Francisco Bay Area last year; the team will play its inaugural season in 2024.

Most recently, Sandberg organized an event at the United Nations focused on sexual violence that occurred during the Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel.

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