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Facebook exec Javier Olivan to replace Sheryl Sandberg as Meta COO

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Yahoo Finance’s Dan Howley joins the Live show to discuss Facebook exec Javier Olivan replacing Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Video Transcript

- Sheryl Sandberg is stepping down from her role as chief operating officer at Facebook's parent company Meta, leaving behind a 14-year legacy at the tech titan. Javier Ollivan, who is currently the chief growth officer, will take over for Sandberg this fall. Yahoo Finance tech editor Dan Howley joins us with some key analysis. And Dan, there's a lot to, as they would say, unpack here. From a Meta standpoint, they have just lost a very key leader at the company and then, of course, a key leader throughout corporate America.

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, I mean, obviously, her impact on Meta, Facebook, I don't know what we'll call it, it's been invaluable. She helped grow this company from essentially when it was still a startup to this gigantic behemoth of a social networking empire, right. So she was part of the ability for that company to grow out its ad platform, to become the company that it is. Now, that also does leave behind this legacy of various issues that have come to light over the years when it comes to their data collection capabilities, their ability to police what kind of ads are purchased, how ads are purchased, obviously, the 2016 election, when we had disinformation campaigns, Russian agents purchasing ads on Facebook at the time.

So she really does have this complicated legacy of being the person that brought up this company alongside Mark Zuckerberg but also left it with these stains, as well.

- Yeah, and she recognized that in the Post, also recognizing that Facebook right now is far different from what they had set out on years ago and the debate around social media changing beyond recognition since those early days. You know, all that considered, how does this position Facebook in what they want to be doing to diversify their revenue streams going forward?

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, I think this really is kind of almost way of them saying that we're going whole hog, you know, as far as the Metaverse goes. We had Sheryl they're guiding us through building out the ad platforms, ensuring that we're able to grow alongside the purchase with WhatsApp, the purchase of Instagram, building out messenger on its own, selling ads across those, monetizing as best as possible. Now, they're kind of transitioning to this new version of Meta.

They're going to obviously be changing the ticker symbol soon. That will kind of be its final movement over to that Meta side of things. And I think that's where Sheryl Sandberg kind of doesn't fit into this puzzle anymore, right. So they're going to bring in Javier Olivan. And even though he's filling in the COO position, Zuckerberg had said it's not going to be the same as what Sheryl Sandberg had been for the company then.

- What I'd be concerned-- you're seeing Facebook shares, of course. They are the top ticker on the Yahoo Finance platform right now, higher slightly in the pre-market. You do have to worry about what other defections there could be from Sandberg's team. When you lose a leader like that, usually, there are a whole wave of people that exit stage left, as well. But Dan and Brad, another issue here is Sheryl Sandberg has had a side business, if you will, with Lean In.

She has championed female leadership in the C-suite for many, many, many years. I'm interested in who takes over that baton because there are not a lot of other female leaders in the C-suite right now, first and foremost. And secondarily, not a lot of them with the platform of Sandberg. And then last but not least, not a lot of them that want to even talk out on these issues.

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah I mean, it's interesting, right, because she was that leader for so long, especially when she was so public as a leader at Facebook. But she slowly started to kind of pull back from that position. At one point, you know, I mean, she was at the congressional hearings in 2018, dealing with the 2016 election interference. She was the face of Facebook at that point, more so than Zuckerberg was. And so she was that big presence, but she's been pulling back a lot in recent years.

We haven't really seen her doing much publicity for the company. If she has, it's been very minor. It hasn't been putting out fires or anything along those lines. So you know, to your point, you know, it's almost as though she hasn't been that person in that role as this huge presence as a female C-suite leader for some time.

- We're going to be continuing this conversation, but a huge presence indeed in the c-suite, but especially in Silicon Valley that needs more gender parity gender representation. And she certainly was that for such a long period of time. It'll be interesting to see what comes next, and not just for Sandberg but also for Meta platforms, as well, here. Dan, thanks for joining us this morning.