Sheryl Sandberg announced Wednesday that she is stepping down as Chief Operating Officer of Facebook parent company Meta. The 52-year-old executive has been with the company since 2008, and she oversaw its operations through milestones ranging from its IPO in 2012 to hitting a $1 trillion valuation last year.
For investors who have held Facebook shares for the duration of Sandberg's tenure at the company, it has been a lucrative, though at times volatile, run. If you invested $1,000 in Facebook when it went public on May 18, 2012, the market value of your shares would be worth $4,964.21 at Wednesday's close, according to CNBC calculations.
Over the same stretch, a $1,000 investment in the S&P 500 index would have grown by 216% to about $3,166, compared to Meta's 396% return.
While serving as CEO Mark Zuckerberg's right-hand woman, Sandberg helped turn Facebook into an advertising juggernaut and one of the biggest names in tech. Until recently, Facebook was valued at over $1 trillion, though that valuation has been cut nearly in half amid slowing revenue growth and its first-ever user loss.
She has been by Zuckerberg's side for Facebook's high-profile acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, which helped it solidify its foothold as the world's dominant social network and helped turn its ad business into a more than $25 billion per quarter revenue generator.
But her tenure at Facebook was not without controversy. She was at the company for the massive 2018 Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal and the fallout of efforts by foreign actors who sought to use Facebook's platform to influence the 2016 presidential election.
As she leaves Meta, CNBC reports that the company faces an antitrust lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission as well as potential scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission over a whistleblower complaint about its handling of hateful content on its platform.
In a post announcing Sandberg's departure, Zuckerberg said that he did not plan on replacing Sandberg's role in the company's existing corporate structure, adding that he did not know if doing so would even "be possible."
"She's a superstar who defined the COO role in her own unique way," he wrote.
Sandberg says she will continue to serve on Meta's board of directors.
Despite Facebook's growth since its IPO, past returns of an individual stock do not predict future results. Make sure to carefully research your options before investing.
Further, instead of trying to predict which stocks will go up and which will go down, consider buying low-cost index funds and holding onto them. This type of diversified fund typically avoids the ups and downs that comes with picking single stocks.
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