Sheryl Sandberg says goodbye to Facebook. One of the most powerful women in Silicon Valley has surprisingly said goodbye to Mark Zuckerberg’s technology company on Wednesday. “When I agreed to take this position in 2008, I thought I was going to be here for five years. Fourteen years later, it is time for the next great chapter of my life”, the director of operations, considered by many as the right hand of the founder of the social network, has published on the social network. The Spanish Javier Oliván (Sabiñánigo, Huesca, 1977) will be the one who assumes the responsibilities in Meta, the parent company.
In his post, Sandberg, 52, says he doesn’t know what the future holds. After her departure, she will dedicate more time to philanthropy and her foundation, focused on giving scholarships to women and facilitating the creation of environments that promote equality within companies. “It is the most important thing for me because of the critical moment that women are experiencing,” added the executive. her book, read in (Let’s go ahead), Since 2013, it has become one of the most important manifestos of corporate feminism. This vision was a guide for hundreds of women in the technology industry, a sector where there is a lag in representation. The industry only has 33% of workers, calculates the firm Deloitte.
A Harvard student of influential economist Larry Summers, Sandberg followed in her teacher’s footsteps to the World Bank and then to the Treasury Department, where she was his chief of staff during the Bill Clinton administration. In 2001, Sandberg began her adventure in the technology sector, signing up for Google. There she helped develop the advertising system that appeared next to the searches that the service produced. Seven years later, she became Facebook’s first COO, a role from which she developed a way to monetize the time the 2.8 billion users spent on the platform.
In this time, the executive amassed great power. In 2014, four out of ten Facebook employees reported to her. Under her umbrella were the legal, political and communication areas. Her influence has waned in recent years, according to The Wall Street Journal, a newspaper that reviewed thousands of internal documents last year. The workers in his charge were reduced to 30% recently, the newspaper reported in October. Executives such as the head of Technology, Mike Schroepfer, the head of Product, Chris Cox, or the vice president Javier Oliván, were gaining positions.
“Working alongside Mark these 14 years has been the honor of my life and a privilege,” Sandberg said in his post. The executive called who until today has been her boss a “visionary and a careful leader.” The dumbbell that they formed for more than a decade made an era in Silicon Valley. “In critical moments, at the highest and at the lowest, I should never have gone to Mark because he was always there by my side,” said the executive, who appears on the list of Forbes with a fortune of 1,700 million dollars. Sandberg will remain on the company’s board of directors.
The press dedicated to the sector, however, revealed a few years ago the distance between the two. In Ugly Truth (Manipulated), the journalists of New York Times Sheera Frankel and Cecilia Kang assure that Sandberg was isolated from the most important decisions within the company during the Donald Trump Administration. “His role as her second-in-command became more uncertain after Zuckerberg elevated other executives and with her influence waning in Washington,” the reporters wrote.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
After the departure of Sandberg, the leadership of Facebook is once again in the hands of executives. Oliván was the growth director of the firm and was in charge of supervising the group’s main applications: Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Although Mark Zuckerberg has stated in the announcement on his Facebook account that “he does not plan to replace the role of Sheryl Sandberg in his current structure”, the Spaniard will be in charge of the advertising and product market for companies, in addition to the role he already had before.
“This job will be different from the one Sheryl did,” Zuckerberg said on the social network. “It will be a more traditional managing director role, where Javi will focus internally and operationally, based on his deep experience in making execution more efficient and rigorous.” With a degree in Electrical and Industrial Engineering from the University of Navarra and an MBA from Stanford University, before joining Facebook, Oliván was product manager at Siemens Mobile (sold to Taiwanese BenQ in 2005) where he led a device development team mobiles.
“It’s the end of an era,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a comment to the post. “In the 14 years that we have worked together, you have built our advertising business, hired great people, forged our management culture, and taught me how to manage a company (…) You are a superstar,” he said by way of farewell the founder of the social network.