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Adland’s verdict on the exit of Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg: ‘She hung on for longer than many expected’


It’s the top of an period with Meta’s chief working officer Sheryl Sandberg’s deliberate exit from a 14-year chapter on the social media big, a interval of unquestionable success however one additionally marred by controversy.

Sandberg is because of vacate her position within the fall of 2022, though she is going to stay on Meta’s board, with chief progress officer Javier Olivan on target to take over the position of COO with the talismanic exec claiming she was “not totally positive what the long run will deliver.”

Because the inventory value of the Fb father or mother firm continues to stumble — whereas down by 2.5% after hours on the day of the announcement, its market cap remained comfortably north of $500 billion — Digiday requested the advert trade to replicate on her tenure.

The ‘grownup within the room’

Extensively deemed as “the grownup within the room” on the social community, Sandberg joined Fb in 2008 simply 4 years after it was based by CEO Mark Zuckerberg — he was aged simply 23 when she joined straight from Google. “Sheryl architected our adverts enterprise, employed nice individuals, cast our administration tradition, and taught me find out how to run an organization,” he wrote in a press launch reflecting on her tenure.

Changing her is simpler to do in title than capabilities.

Allen Adamson, Metaforce

Throughout her 14-year run on the high of the corporate, Fb scaled the heights of social media unseating incumbents akin to MySpace, whereas Sandberg’s efforts in creating its promoting providing finally performed an enormous position in its transition from Silicon Valley start-up to publicly listed behemoth.

Matt Prohaska, CEO of Prohaska Consulting, mentioned her efforts at “two of one of the best mousetraps ever in-built media” are worthy of credit score, however she should even be held accountable for the lowlights that occurred on her watch.

“Zuckerberg has at all times been put out because the face of the franchise however she clearly has been the brains of your entire operation,” he mentioned. “Each choice that was central to monetization concerning its use of information, each use and abuse, have been underneath her management.”

Fb modified its title to Meta in October 2021 amid a broader trade depending on shopper privateness — and a transfer to dazzle advertisers within the metaverse. “She’s additionally grow to be central to what the corporate has grow to be in making an attempt to earn its well-earned unhealthy repute by altering the title of the corporate to distract individuals,” Prohaska mentioned.

In the meantime, one other promoting government, who requested anonymity given their firm’s interactions with Meta, famous that controversies regarding Fb’s media providing, such because the a number of snafus over efficiency measurement, to not point out knowledge safety and content-curation considerations, have marred its repute.

“She held on for longer than many had anticipated — not simply due to the metrics but in addition the sense that there was a drift politically towards the Peter Theil camp in Zuckerberg land,” famous the supply. “Advertisers proper now are already deeply cynical in terms of Meta so this doesn’t essentially change that.”

Exits at a time of existential threats

The announcement of Sandberg’s exit comes lower than a 12 months after Carolyn Everson, an exec that many additionally thought-about as one in all the faces of the social networking big on Madison Avenue exited the corporate.

Mack McKelvey, founder and CEO of strategic advertising and marketing agency SalientMG, famous how these key departures emerged at a time when its adverts staff faces rising competitors from the likes of TikTok in addition to emergent threats akin to retail media, to not point out opposition from platforms akin to Apple.

“Given the rise of Amazon’s promoting enterprise, a possible advert technique from Netflix on the horizon, and the continued challenges Meta faces from Apple’s privateness options; it’s actually time for Meta to recalibrate its strategy to promoting,” she wrote. “Sheryl’s departure ought to actually pave the best way for brand spanking new approaches and loads of discussions in Cannes.”

Allen Adamson, co-founder of brand name consultancy Metaforce, famous how Sandberg’s departure is “the very last thing the corporate wants proper now” in terms of its reputational inventory on Madison Avenue given her stabilizing position in Meta’s C-suite.

“No manner the following 5 [sic] years can be as enjoyable as the primary 10,” Adamson wrote in an electronic mail. “Yet another piece of the inspiration is shaky, COO retains all of the balls within the air on a regular basis. Changing her is simpler to do in title than capabilities.”



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