Why is Sheryl Sandberg leaving Meta? Salary as Facebook COO, net worth, and who is fiance Tom Bernthal

Sheryl Sandberg served as Meta’s chief operating officer for 14 years

Sheryl Sandberg has announced she will be stepping down from her role as the chief operating officer of Meta after 14 years.

During her time at Meta, which was previously called Facebook, she grew the advertising business to $100bn (£80m) a year.

But who is Ms Sandberg and why is Mark Zuckerberg’s second-in-command leaving her post? Here’s what you need to know.

Who is Sheryl Sandberg? 

Ms Sandberg, 52, was born in Washington, DC, in 1969.

She is an American business executive, billionaire, philanthropist and the COO of Meta Platforms - a role she will step down from later in the year

Ms Sandberg attended Harvard and graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in economics, while also co-founding an organisation called Women in Economics and Government.

In 2012, Ms Sandberg became the first woman to serve on the board of Facebook - a role she will continue with even after her departure in the autumn. She currently has a networth of $1.6 billion (£1.3bn).

According to Salary.com, in 2020, Ms Sandberg base pay was $918,077 (£731,266.96).

Before Facebook, she was vice president of global online sales and operations at Google and had also served as chief-of-staff for the former United States Secretary of the Treasury, Lawrence Summers.

In 2013, Ms Sandberg founded LeanIn.Org, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to offering women support and inspiration to help them achieve their goals.

She is also an author, writing books such as Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead - which she described as a "sort of feminist manifesto".

Ms Sandberg has been married twice. First to Brian Kaff, which resulted in a divorce in 1994, and then to Dave Goldberg, whom she had two children with. Mr Goldberg died in 2015 while on holiday at their private villa in Mexico.

Ms Sandberg is now engaged to American marketing CEO and former NBC news producer, Thomas Bernthal.

Why has Sheryl Sandberg left Meta? 

Ms Sandberg joined Facebook in 2008 as COO, but announced on 1 June 2022, that she will be stepping down from the role after 14 years.

On her Facebook page, she said: “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. I am not entirely sure what the future will bring – I have learned no one ever is. But I know it will include focusing more on my foundation and philanthropic work, which is more important to me than ever given how critical this moment is for women.”

Following her announcement, shares in Meta fell by 4%.

Mr Zukerberg said Ms Sandberg’s departure marked “the end of an era”, while noting that it was unusual for business partnerships like theirs to last so long.

He posted on Facebook: “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."

Javier Olivan, who is currently Meta’s chief growth officer, will take over Ms Sandberg’s position when she leaves in the fall.

Last year, the company reported more than $117bn (£93m) in revenue and claimed that over 2.8 billion people globally used one of its apps daily.

What will be Sheryl Sandberg’s legacy? 

Ms Sandberg is often credited for making Meta into the profitable business it is today. She is considered to be one of the most high-profile women in the tech industry.

Debra Williamson, an analyst at Insider Intelligence, who has been following the company since its founding, said: “There have been plenty of controversies surrounding Meta, but from a purely business standpoint, what (Ms Sandberg) built at Facebook is pretty powerful, and will go down in the history books”.

Ms Williamson added: “She helped Facebook build a world-class ad-buying platform and develop ground-breaking ad formats, which enabled the company to become the second-largest digital ad business in the world behind Google."

"However, Facebook also faced huge scandals under her watch, including the 2016 election, the Cambridge Analytica privacy debacle in 2018, and the Capitol riots that took place after the 2020 election. And in 2022, Meta is facing a slowdown in user growth and ad revenue that is now testing the business foundation that the company was built on.

"The company needs to find a new way forward, and perhaps this was the best time for Ms Sandberg to depart," she added.

The scandals that took place during her time at Meta led to people calling for her resignation.

Shaunna Thomas, a co-founder of women’s rights group UltraViolet, said that under Ms Sandberg, Meta platforms became “a right-wing playground where misogyny, racism, disinformation,  violence, and hateful conspiracy theories grow and spread. Women deserve better”.

“Sheryl Sandberg may fancy herself a feminist, but her decisions at Meta made social media platforms less safe for women, people of colour, and the American electoral system”

“Sandberg had the power to take action for 14 years, yet consistently chose not to.”