(Reuters) -Meta Platforms Inc Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, whose close partnership with Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg powered the growth of the world‘s biggest social network, is leaving the company after 14 years, she said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
Her announcement sent the social media firm’s shares down 4%. Sandberg is one of the most visible executives at Meta and has long been a staunch defender of the company’s often-criticized business model and its founder, Zuckerberg.
“When I took this job in 2008, I hoped I would be in this role for five years. Fourteen years later, it is time for me to write the next chapter of my life,” she wrote.
Chief Growth Officer Javier Olivan will take over as chief operating officer, Zuckerberg said in a separate Facebook post, although he added that he did not plan to replace Sandberg’s role directly within the company‘s existing structure.
“I think Meta has reached the point where it makes sense for our product and business groups to be more closely integrated, rather than having all the business and operations functions organized separately from our products,” he said.
Olivan has worked at Meta for more than 14 years and has led teams handling Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.
Sandberg said she was not sure what the future holds for her, but that she plans to focus on her foundation and philanthropic work. She will continue to serve on Meta’s board after leaving the company in the fall, she said.
Prior to joining Facebook, Sandberg was vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, chief of staff for the United States Treasury Department under former President Bill Clinton, a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, and an economist with the World Bank.
A Harvard University graduate, Sandberg is the author of several books, including the 2013 feminist manifesto “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.”
(Reporting by Katie Paul in Palo Alto and Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Alistair Bell)