Toward the end, Rose asked Sandberg if the rumors were true that she wants to leave the company and join the Obama administration's second term.
Sandberg told Rose: "I love my job and I'm staying. I love what we do. What excites me is, we have 950 million Facebook [users] and Facebook changes your life."
That should be a good enough answer.
And yet, it's the one Sandberg has been giving for months and the questions have not gone away.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg can't seem to convince doubters that she is staying at the company for the long haul.
- Her background. Sandberg once worked in Bill Clinton's administration—for Larry Summers in the Treasury Department. Beltway insiders can't believe anyone would ever NOT want to be what they want to be—powerful Beltway insiders—so they tell reporters that former Beltway insiders are always on their way back in.
- She has causes beyond Facebook. Sandberg has a very visible public persona. She's written a book. She's frequently giving commencement speeches and appearing at conferences, and it's not always to talk about Facebook. Sandberg is a particularly eloquent advocate of women in business. Unfortunately, her willingness to put energy and time into causes outside of Facebook has a side effect of making people wonder if she'd rather be doing something else in the long term. Also, her effectiveness at pursuing her causes makes some people wish she'd take on more, full time.
- Facebook is a failure. Facebook went public at a $100 billion valuation and now it's down to $50 billion. "Somebody's head has to roll," one industry source observed.
- Facebook is a success. When Sandberg took over Facebook in 2008, it was a frat house with minimal revenues. Four years later, it has 3,000 employees, is worth $50 billion and has $5 billion in annual revenues. Some wonder if Sandberg has anything left to prove at Facebook.
So, will she stay or will she go?
If Facebook's IPO had gone as well as many thought it would, perhaps Sandberg would feel her work was done, and that she could move on to bigger and better things.
Supporting this: We've heard her book has been done for a year, and that she put off publishing it until this fall in order to take advantage of Facebook's huge IPO success. Perhaps she was planning other moves to take advantage of a huge IPO, as well.
But Facebook's IPO did not go that well. If Sandberg were to leave now, it would look awful for her and it would leave the company's business side headless at a time when it needs (and is doing) everything it can to reaccelerate ad-revenue growth.
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