Sheryl Sandberg’s Facebook share sales total $1.7 billion since 2012

Sheryl Sandberg is left dead as one of the most famous and successful women in tech – and after more than $1.7 billion in stock sales.

Sandberg announced Wednesday that she is stepping down as chief operating officer after 14 years at Meta, formerly known as Facebook. Sandberg will remain on the social media company’s board of directors.

Sandberg’s fortune is estimated at $1.6 billion, according to Forbes magazine, making her the second richest woman in technology after Meg Whitman. Whitman previously held the top position at Hewlett Packard Enterprise and his fortune is estimated at $3.2 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

Sandberg is also one of the rare CEOs and non-founders to become a billionaire.

While many corporate executives tend to hold the bulk of their stock as a show of confidence in their companies, Sandberg has been a solid and consistent seller of Facebook (now Meta) shares.

Over the past decade, Sandberg has sold more than 75% of its after-tax stock through regularly scheduled stock-sale programs, according to research firms that track sales. In total, it has sold more than 22 million shares for more than $1.7 billion, according to analytics firm VerityData. Depending on options processing and restricted stock sales, the total could actually be higher, according to another analytics firm, Smart Insider, which calculates its stock sales at nearly $1.9 billion.

“Its sales over the past decade make it one of the largest insider sellers of any US company,” said Ben Silverman, director of research at VerityData.

A spokesperson for Sandberg said she acquired 48 million units of stock, options and restricted stock during her tenure at the company. About 20 million were sold for taxes, and 22 million of the remaining 28 million were sold through the 10b5-1 pre-scheduled sale program.

Sandberg exchanged shares at a wide range of prices as Facebook shares rose. The stock was priced at $38 per share in the company’s initial public offering in 2012 and peaked above $382 per share in September.

The average selling price of Sandberg shares over the past decade has been $79.10 a share, according to VerityData, with its last sale in October 2019.

Despite her billionaire status, Sandberg has not shown the charms of the yachts, private jets, and beach homes that other tech tycoons have shown. According to media reports, in 2013 she moved into a new 9,200-square-foot home in Menlo Park, California, near Facebook’s headquarters, that features a wine room, gym, waterfall, and rooftop solar panels.

Sandberg also donated some of her sales proceeds to charity. In 2016, she gave $107.2 million to her advisory fund at Fidelity Charitable. At the time, it did not specify which charities would fund it, but said it plans to support programs that increase opportunities for women and girls.

Sandberg’s spokeswoman said she gave a total of 4.9 million shares, with 2.8 million shares to her grantor fund and 2.1 million irrevocable transfers to trust funds to beneficiaries. Smart Insider estimates that Sandberg has given up $484 million in stock.

In announcing her departure on Wednesday, Sandberg said the decision to leave Mita would allow her to focus more on her charitable work.

Sandberg has also been an active political donor, contributing to Democratic candidates and frequently hosting Democratic fundraisers.

It still owns approximately 1.5 million shares, with a current market value of $290 million, in a revocable trust. It also has 333,642 shares of unvested restricted stock, some of which may mature before it leaves.

Meta shares closed Wednesday at $188.64.

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