Meta, Facebook’s parent company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has announced via a lengthy post on her profile that she will be stepping down from her role in the coming spring.
Through her post, Sandberg relayed her thoughts and her emotions in working for the company for so many years. She highlights her early days, when Mark Zuckerberg initially approached her with the idea for the company and how she found her place in her new role.
“When I first met Mark, I was not really looking for a new job – and I could have never predicted how meeting him would change my life,” says Sandberg as she recalls her meeting with the Meta co-founder and CEO. “We were at a holiday party at Daniel L Rosensweig’s house. I was introduced to Mark as I walked in the door, and we started talking about his vision for Facebook. I had tried The Facebook, as it was first called, but still thought the internet was a largely anonymous place to search for funny pictures. Mark’s belief that people would put their real selves online to connect with other people was so mesmerizing that we stood by that door and talked for the rest of the night.
Sandberg also went on to talk about the challenges that she went up against as a woman with children working in the tech industry at the time: “When I joined Facebook, I had a two-year-old son and a six-month-old daughter. I did not know if this was the right time for a new and demanding role. The messages were everywhere that women – and I – could not be both a leader and a good mother, but I wanted to give it a try. Once I started, I realized that to see my children before they went to sleep, I had to leave the office at 5:30 p.m., which was when work was just getting going for many of my new colleagues.
“In my previous role at Google, there were enough people and buildings that leaving early wasn’t noticed, but Facebook was a small startup and there was nowhere to hide. More out of necessity than bravery, I found my nerve and walked out early anyway. Then, supported by Mark, I found my voice to admit this publicly and then talk about the challenges women face in the workplace. My hope was to make this a bit easier for others and help more women believe they can and should lead.”
In a response to Sandberg’s announcement, Mark Zuckerberg made clear his intentions to not directly fill her position, pointing out that someone of her calibre is irreplaceable. He says that Javier Olivan, Chief Growth Officer & VP, Cross-Meta Products and Infrastructure will be promoted to a more traditional COO role, with a few further movements in the company’s leadership roles.
Zuckerberg also points out the incredible relationship he had with his former colleague, both professionally and personally.
As he says, Sheryl Sandberg will continue to serve on Meta’s board of directors, helping the company with her years of experience in the industry.