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Unfriended: Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg steps down after 14-year stint

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What you need to know

  • Meta Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sheryl Sandberg is stepping down.
  • The COO role will be taken on by Chief Growth Officer Javier Olivan.
  • Sandberg had been at Meta/Facebook for 14 years.

Meta Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sheryl Sandberg is stepping down from her role at the company, it has been confirmed. After arriving as Facebook COO in 2008, Sandberg spent 14 years alongside CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The announcement of the move actually came via Zuck's own Facebook post, going on to say that "it's unusual for a business partnership like ours to last so long."

When Sheryl joined me in 2008, I was only 23 years old and I barely knew anything about running a company. We'd built a great product -- the Facebook website -- but we didn't yet have a profitable business and we were struggling to transition from a small startup to a real organization. Sheryl architected our ads business, hired great people, forged our management culture, and taught me how to run a company. She created opportunities for millions of people around the world, and she deserves the credit for so much of what Meta is today.

Meta's current Chief Growth Officer Javier Olivan will fill the role that Sandberg is leaving, with Zuckerberg noting that the new role "will be different from what Sheryl has done." There will be more moving around of names and titles as part of a mini-reshuffule, too.

It will be a more traditional COO role where Javi will be focused internally and operationally, building on his strong track record of making our execution more efficient and rigorous. As part of this, Molly Cutler, our VP Strategic Response, will join Javi's team and report to Naomi Gleit.

TechCrunch reports that there had been concerns that the political tensions brought on by Facebook had caused a rift between Sandberg and Zuckerberg, although there is obviously no mention of that in the announcement.

Facebook has long been the best iPhone app for snooping on former work colleagues but it's increasingly becoming a social network that decides people rather than unites them. Meta has also found itself in Apple's crosshairs, with the company putting anti-tracking technology into iOS that impacts the ad sales that are Zuckerberg's lifeblood.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.