Top Meta Exec Sandberg exits amid wedding expense investigation: Report

Longtime Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg, who announced earlier this week that she was stepping down after 14 years at the company, was under an internal investigation into whether she used company resources to plan her wedding, according to a report.

Sandberg was chief operating officer and was not. 2 To Mark Zuckerberg most of the time she spent at the company that changed its name to Meta last year. When she announced her departure on Wednesday, she did not refer to the internal investigation, saying only that she intended to focus on philanthropy.

“I am so grateful to the thousands of wonderful and loyal people at META with whom I have had the privilege of working over the past 14 years,” Sandberg said on Facebook. “Every day someone does something that stops me in my tracks and reminds me how lucky I am to be surrounded by such wonderful colleagues. This team is filled with exceptionally talented people who poured their hearts and minds into building products that have had a profound impact on the world.”

But Sandberg, who helped build Facebook into one of the world’s most valuable companies, has reportedly had a review by Meta at her upcoming wedding to chief marketing officer Tom Bernthal. Sources told the Wall Street Journal that company officials were still investigating as of May whether she misappropriated Meta’s resources to plan the party. Previously, the company investigated whether Sandberg pressured the Daily Mail to drop a story about her then-boyfriend, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotik.

A Meta spokeswoman denied that either investigation had taken into account Sandberg’s decision to leave.

“None of this has anything to do with her personal decision to leave,” said Caroline Nolan, a spokeswoman for Meta.

Sandberg, who joined Facebook in 2008 when founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was 23, runs a nonprofit called Lean In, which campaigns against sexual harassment in the workplace and the alleged “gender pay gap” while defending Paid family leave.

Zuckerberg praised Sandberg’s work at the company in another Facebook post.

“Cheryl shaped our advertising business, hired great people, shaped our management culture, and taught me how to run a business,” he said. “She has created opportunities for millions of people around the world, and she deserves so much credit for what Meta stands for today.”

Sandberg — who will remain on the board of Meta after leaving her position in the fall — was hired at Facebook after serving as Google’s vice president of global online sales and operations. She also worked for the World Bank and served at the Treasury Department in the Clinton administration. In the past, Sandberg has funded Democratic candidates and made a $1 million donation to the political arm of Planned Parenthood in 2019.

“When Cheryl joined me…I hardly knew anything about running a company,” Zuckerberg said. “We built a great product – Facebook – but we didn’t yet have a profitable business and we were struggling to make the transition from a small start-up to a real organization.”

Last week, entrepreneur Peter Thiel resigned from Meta’s board of directors to pursue other projects — helping elect Republican candidates in the midterm elections. In total, Thiel supports four candidates for the Senate and 12 candidates for the House of Representatives.

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