Meta | Resignation of Sheryl Sandberg, number two of the group

(San Francisco) She has turned a popular social network into an advertising machine, a symbol of the large Internet platforms and their highly controversial economic model: Sheryl Sandberg, number two at Meta (Facebook), announced her resignation on Wednesday.

Posted at 7:18pm

Julie Jammot
Media Agency France

“After 14 years, I’m leaving Meta,” the operations manager, muse of Silicon Valley, said on Facebook, who will nevertheless remain on the board.

She asserted that those years “at the side of Mark” Zuckerberg, the company’s CEO and founder, have been “the honor and privilege of a lifetime” while the Californian company has been widely criticized for its practices by politicians and civil society. from collecting personal information to moderating content.

“It’s the end of an era,” the billionaire commented on his profile.

He recalled that in 2008, when he hired Sheryl Sandberg, he was only 23 and “didn’t know anything about corporate governance.”

She was 38 and had a career with well-known organizations, from the World Bank to the consulting group McKinsey. She had also worked for the US Treasury Department as Human Resources Director and Google as Vice President of International Sales and Operations.

“Sheryl architected our advertising business, recruited great people, shaped our corporate culture, and taught me how to run a business,” wrote Mark Zuckerberg. “She created opportunities for millions of people around the world and it is thanks in large part to her that Meta became the band they are today.”

“It was’nt easy”

After establishing itself as the world’s leading social network in the 2000s, Facebook expanded and acquired other services such as Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus to remain indispensable.

With about 3.6 billion monthly users (people who use one of its platforms at least once a month), Meta is now worth more than $500 billion.

A spokesman told AFP that Javier Olivan would become the new chief operating officer, but Mark Zuckerberg said he has no intention of replacing Sheryl Sandberg’s position as it is.

“I think Meta has reached the point where it makes sense to have our product and our different businesses more integrated with each other,” he said.

At the end of 2021, the founder renamed the parent company to “Meta” to mark the turning point to the Metaverse, this parallel universe accessible in augmented and virtual reality.

But its economic model continues to be based on targeted advertising on a very large scale, and therefore user attention and data.

It has sparked controversy after controversy since 2016. And many authorities accuse it of abusing a dominant market position, like its neighbor Google, the world’s leading provider of digital advertising.

“The social media debate is no longer where it started,” Sheryl Sandberg stated in her lengthy message, which looks back on the key stages of her fourteen years at Facebook.

“To say it wasn’t always easy is an understatement. But it’s normal that it’s difficult. Our products have a huge impact, so we have a responsibility to design them in a way that protects people’s privacy and security.”

“Mom” goes

The announcement of his departure took the market by surprise.

“She’s had a huge impact on Facebook, Meta, and the business community in general,” said Debra Williamson, an analyst at eMarketer. “She has helped Facebook build a world-class ad buying platform and create innovative formats for brands.”

But with the current challenges — slowing user growth and ad revenue — “the business needs a new way forward, and maybe now is the right time to move away from Sandberg,” she added.

“This makes strategic sense as the company transitions to new sources of growth like the Metaverse,” said Angelo Zino of CFRA Research.

Reading the messages from the two leaders, “one has the impression that the relationship between them is no longer necessary or no longer works,” responded Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies.

“It’s like Mark saying, ‘Mom was watching me, but I’m all grown up now.’ »

Sheryl Sandberg is also known for her bestselling book, A Book About Her Widowhood and All aheadabout the possibilities for a woman to combine personal success and a professional career.

But she had been widely criticized for excelling when her fortune largely enabled her to escape the hassles of less fortunate widows or the myriad obstacles women faced.

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