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Leaked transcript: What Mark Zuckerberg informed Meta workers about Sheryl Sandberg’s exit


Meta held a digital assembly for its greater than 70,000 workers on Thursday, and there was a particular subject of debate: the just lately introduced departure of Sheryl Sandberg, its longtime No. 2 govt.

“People asked me all day yesterday, ‘Why now? Why now?’ Why now is because it’s time to write the next chapter of my life,” Sandberg stated on the assembly, which Recode obtained an unique recording of and has transcribed beneath. “But really, [it’s] because I have so much faith in the leadership team Mark and I have put in place,” she continued.

The assembly centered on Sandberg’s contributions to Meta’s enterprise — specifically, making it worthwhile — in addition to Sandberg’s early recollections of Zuckerberg, and Zuckerberg’s plans to extra intently combine Meta’s product and enterprise groups when Sandberg exits.

Sandberg’s departure comes at a time of unparalleled uncertainty about the way forward for Meta, the corporate previously generally known as Facebook. The tech big has reoriented its imaginative and prescient away from social media to deal with constructing the “metaverse”; in the meantime, its inventory value has confronted historic dips, and it continues to face the continuing risk of regulatory scrutiny.

Which is why the departure of Sandberg — who was lengthy thought of “the adult in the room” who helped Zuckerberg mature his enterprise — despatched shock waves by the corporate and the whole tech business.

Unlike in common weekly govt Q&A conferences usually held each week at Meta, the “fireside chat” format of Thursday’s assembly meant that the corporate didn’t take direct questions from workers. The roughly 30-minute dialogue was largely Sandberg and Zuckerberg expressing their gratitude for one another. Zuckerberg thanked Sandberg for educating his 23-year-old self “how to run a company,” and Sandberg complimented Zuckerberg for his imaginative and prescient and the groups they constructed collectively.

They made no point out of the biggest points going through the corporate, similar to Meta’s ongoing challenges round content material moderation (which Sandberg oversaw), Facebook’s declining relevance with youthful customers amid the rise of its competitor TikTok, and skepticism about the way forward for the metaverse.

The congratulatory tone of the assembly additionally glossed over any questions on Zuckerberg and Sandberg’s relationship, which based on a number of experiences has grown extra distant in recent times. (Meta has denied any rift.)

Although the assembly didn’t immediately dive into the various urgent points going through the corporate, this leaked recording of a Meta inner assembly provides insights into how the corporate is positioning a pivotal second as one in every of its most formative and outstanding leaders is leaving.

The following is a rush transcript of Meta’s inner assembly on June 2, 2022. This transcript has been edited for size and readability.

Moderator

Hi, everybody. Thanks a lot for becoming a member of us right this moment to be with us after the information, you noticed in Employee FYI, from each Mark and Sheryl’s posts. And we’re not going to take any questions — it’s type of totally different than a Q&A this time. But we actually needed to get to listen to from Mark and Sheryl each and converse on to workers concerning the information. So with out additional ado, Mark, we’ll kick it over to you.

Mark Zuckerberg

All proper, thanks. Well, I needed to get the corporate collectively to speak about yesterday’s information. As I wrote my put up, that is the tip of an period. It actually is. After 14 years, Sheryl has made the choice to step down from her function as COO of Meta. And I feel it’s exhausting for us to have, sitting the place we’re right this moment, the place we have now this actually profitable firm, to place ourselves in what issues have been like from when Sheryl joined as a way to perceive simply how large of an impression she’s had on this place.

When Sheryl joined me, it was again in 2008. I used to be 23 years previous on the time, and I barely knew something about operating an organization. We had this nice product on the time, it was an internet site, not a cellular app, it was simply Facebook. But it was an amazing product that folks have been tremendous enthusiastic about. We didn’t actually have something in the way in which of a worthwhile enterprise. We had a smattering of some concepts, we didn’t actually have the route of the place we’re gonna go together with adverts. And we have been actually struggling to simply transition from this free startup tradition to an actual group.

And, you realize, a whole lot of what Sheryl did is she architected our adverts enterprise, she employed a whole lot of nice individuals, she constructed our administration tradition, and taught me and so many different individuals right here tips on how to run an organization. And I feel, you realize, the place we are actually the place we have now this profitable enterprise and we have now a corporation that works effectively. And we have now lots of and in a whole lot of methods hundreds of nice leaders across the firm who can push them ahead. It’s a really totally different world from the place we have been, when Sheryl was constructing all of that up. So you realize, I feel a whole lot of her legacy is that she simply created alternatives for hundreds of thousands of individuals all over the world and I feel she deserves a whole lot of the credit score for what Meta is right this moment.

I feel it’s been actually uncommon for a partnership like this to final so lengthy, Sheryl will say that she thought it will final for 5 years but it surely lasted for 14. I used to be a bit of extra optimistic that it will have lasted a bit of greater than 5 years. But I imply, usually these items don’t final for that lengthy as a result of companies evolve and the wants that folks have evolve, and other people’s ambitions change. But I feel that our partnership labored for thus lengthy, as a result of Sheryl is simply such a tremendous individual and chief and companion and good friend and like a lot of what she did, she actually centered on making the partnership work and she or he focuses on nurturing the relationships and serving to the individuals round her develop.

I’m simply tremendous grateful for having had this chance to construct this firm and work so intently with Sheryl, and I really feel like she’s leaving us in an amazing place having educated so many different superior and gifted individuals right here. And in fact, she’s not going that far as a result of she’s gonna be on our board going ahead. So anyway, it’s troublesome to overstate how large of an impression Sheryl’s had on this place. But I simply need to begin off by expressing my gratitude for the whole lot that you just’ve achieved.

Sheryl Sandberg

Thank you. You know, I don’t know if it’s that I anticipated it to final for 5 years. But the story is that I met Mark at this party. And we type of stood by the wall by the door and talked the whole time. And then we went out to dinner as soon as after which type of, you realize, he was very recognizable. I used to be not, however I did have a big group at Google. And somebody on that group noticed us there so we didn’t exit once more. We had dinner at my home, we couldn’t have dinner at Mark’s home as a result of Mark — bear in mind you had a studio house with a mattress on the ground. And you appropriately judged that that was not place to have a dinner with me.

And so we had dinner at my home many, many, many occasions for a lot of months. And then on the finish, we went out to dinner. Me and Mark and Dave, my husband, and Priscilla was then his younger girlfriend. And on the way in which there Dave and I talked, he checked out me and stated, “You’ve got to be able to see yourself in this job for five years, otherwise this makes no sense.” And in order that all the time type of rang in my head —and that was, as Mark stated, 14 years in the past — can you’re employed for and with this individual for the following 5 years of your life? And the reply to that was simply an amazing sure.

And you realize, I stated this in my put up, however this job has been the dignity and privilege of a lifetime, and that basically begins with Mark.

On the way in which in, I requested him for 3 issues: that we’d sit collectively, that we’d meet each week, and that we’d give one another suggestions. And on the third … I requested for him to offer me suggestions each week. And he stated immediately, “nope, I will not give you feedback every week unless you give it to me.” And we arrange, I feel it was Fridays in our early days for our assembly and suggestions days. And I bear in mind in one in every of my very first weeks the suggestions got here immediately and it was on a Tuesday, and I’m like “Whoa, It’s not a feedback day, feedback day is Friday.”

But the truth that we talked about that as a way to have an actual partnership — and that is one thing I’ve tried to impart to the corporate — as a result of we’re an organization stuffed with individuals, we’re an organization stuffed with relationships, that’s the entire relationships between all of you that both make this place work or make this place not work that construct the merchandise or don’t that promote the adverts or don’t ship or not, that maintain issues operating or not. And it’s being sincere and direct that retains issues from build up and retains issues on monitor. And Mark stated immediately, “Well, it doesn’t have to be Friday.” And Mark was all the time actually sincere with me.

When I used to be excited about that tradition of suggestions, what’s the suggestions Mark has had for me essentially the most? And it’s actually that we have to be bold, throughout. I bear in mind when that crash of 2008 occurred, you realize, and I used to be doom and gloom and thought we’re by no means going to promote one other advert and our 2009 income projections Mark was like “Not good enough.” And I stated, “Well, you know, the markets crashing and the whole world’s imploding.” And everybody remembers this — okay, not all of you as a result of a few of you’re very younger — however a whole lot of us bear in mind this time on the earth and within the markets. And it felt like, there would by no means get the tip of the recession would by no means come up. Mark says, “well, we’ve still got to sell ads and build the business through this.” And we did.

And at each stage of the sport Mark has all the time pushed us to be bolder. One of the opposite moments on that I’ve all the time thought of is Mark has all the time stated there’s two methods for a corporation to fail. One approach is it units bold plans and doesn’t meet them. But the second approach is it units plans that aren’t bold and desires them. And he all the time stated, I by no means need the second to occur to us that we will’t have plans that received’t actually ship. If you look about the place the corporate is true now, the metaverse plan is bold, and that’s Mark at his best. I’m actually grateful to this group.

People requested me all day yesterday, “Why now? Why now?” Why now’s as a result of it’s time to jot down the following chapter of my life. But actually, as a result of I’ve a lot religion within the management group Mark and I’ve put in place, if you take a look at my direct experiences, from Marne to Justin to Molly and Maxine to Lori and Jen and Nick, who’ve already began reporting to Mark months in the past.

[Editor’s note: Marne Levine is Meta’s chief business officer, Justin Osofsky is Instagram COO & VP of global operations, Molly Cutler is Meta’s VP of strategic response program, and Maxine Williams is Meta’s global chief diversity officer. Lori Goler is Meta’s head of people, Jennifer Newstead is Meta’s chief legal officer, and Nick Clegg is Meta’s president of global affairs.]

There’s such a deep bench, and it’s not simply them, it’s the individuals underneath them, and the individuals underneath them and the individuals underneath them. And Javi, [Editor’s note: Javier Olivan is Meta VP of central products and will take over Sandberg’s former role as COO] as he steps into what’s a really totally different, however I feel it’s actually essential, function for this firm. I’ve a lot religion in all of them. And I simply have a lot gratitude. Thank you all for thus many good posts and messages and calls and texts yesterday sharing your tales. I’m very grateful that I’ve touched lives the way in which a few of you’re saying and I would like you to know you’ve touched mine much more. So now I feel we’re going to speak a bit of bit about transition — oh no, I’m sorry, Melinda, you reasonable.

Moderator

No, I’m simply making an attempt to carry again tears. And additionally, the concept that that is in all probability essentially the most coronary heart emojis that I’ve seen on a reside broadcast that we’ve achieved. Lots of individuals chiming in saying, “Wow, Mark, and Sheryl, what a partnership for all of these years, it sounds like such a great friendship as well.” And then additionally simply how good it’s been to have two leaders such as you, and particularly on this time and day, how great it’s to see you collectively. So you talked about one thing, although, I need to return to about our construction and management altering a bit based mostly on the information. So Mark, would you stroll by the adjustments right here of structurally what’s occurring?

Mark Zuckerberg

Sure. So I feel the very first thing to say is we’re not going to exchange Sheryl’s function in the way in which that it’s occurring now, I feel for a couple of causes. One is that it will be inconceivable. And Sheryl is a singular and super-talented chief who joined at a selected context in time in our firm the place there have been all these elements of the corporate that wanted to be simply constructed from scratch that weren’t the product.

But going ahead, I feel it makes much more sense to combine the enterprise features and product features collectively, slightly than having these be kind of two separate sides of the corporate. Javi Olivan goes to be the following COO of the corporate. And as a part of that, the entire enterprise features, the product teams round adverts, and commerce, enterprise messaging funds, are going to be there in addition to Marne Levine, our chief enterprise officer for the corporate and the entire Meta enterprise group. And Javi additionally, he simply has this historical past of being extremely rigorous and centered on effectivity with the whole lot that he runs, and I carry on simply including an increasing number of issues to his portfolio over time. But now that he’s along with operating these elements of the enterprise, he’s additionally going to run, he runs our infrastructure groups and integrity, advertising, analytics, company growth, and progress as effectively.

But I feel it’s essential to note that — begin to acknowledge that — this function goes to be a distinct COO function than what Sheryl has achieved. It’s going to be a extra conventional COO function, the place Javi goes to be centered primarily internally and operationally. And for essentially the most half, I feel individuals externally will not be actually going to listen to from him. The type of function of the highest public enterprise individual on the firm goes to be Marne as chief enterprise officer. And she has already performed a bunch of this function and has helped to knit the Meta enterprise group along with the gross sales group and the partnerships organizations.

And a whole lot of what we’re going to do over the remainder of this yr as Sheryl transitions in her day-to-day function is simply guarantee that we transition all of the relationships over to Marne, and Marne’s actually going to be the type of high one that offers with all of the CEOs of the businesses that we companion with and operating all of the partnerships and the work that we do there, reporting into Javi’s org.

One of the massive legacies that Sheryl has is simply having all these superior leaders who’re going to tackle these larger roles now, a few of them have already stepped into larger roles. So that features the oldsters like Jennifer Newstead, who stepped into a job as our chief authorized officer final yr, in addition to Nick Clegg, who stepped into a job as our president of world affairs earlier this yr. And these of us have been already twin reporting to me and Sheryl, so simply very naturally, they’ll simply proceed reporting to me now.

On the individuals facet, we have now Lori Goler I’ve labored extraordinarily shut with for a very long time, so she’ll now report on to me. Maxine Williams, our chief variety officer, goes to proceed working within the individuals group, however she’s been in my employees assembly for a lot of years now and goes to proceed doing that too, and simply has a very precious voice in that group that I’ve appreciated and can proceed to lean on.

And then on the similar time, Molly Cutler, who has run our strategic response group, can be going to hitch Javi’s group reporting to Naomi with the identical fundamental deal with bettering our decision-making and execution effectivity. And that’s going to be the massive focus there. So we’ll share extra details about the orgs within the coming weeks as we work the whole lot out, that’s kind of the highest stage of issues. But I feel over time, we’re going to need to simply guarantee that these totally different teams are extra built-in effectively collectively, I feel having the merchandise nearer to the totally different enterprise and operational teams goes to make the whole lot run extra effectively, we’ll be capable of get higher suggestions from our prospects and purchasers and other people in our group extra immediately into our product group phase. That’s going to be nice. And that I feel is an efficient type of subsequent step for the group to take.

But I imply, look, it’s, once more, it’s simply exhausting to overstate how large of an impression Sheryl has had. I sit up for all these of us who she’s educated up persevering with to work with them, and I’ve an enormous quantity of confidence that they’re gonna be capable of maintain pushing this all ahead. But it’s clearly large footwear to fill.

Moderator

Oh, I really like that. Mark. Thanks for that. I need to take a couple of minutes simply to speak to you each about a few of the tales that I’ve had the privilege of listening to about your relationship and partnership that I feel can be value speaking about for workers as effectively. You know, Mark, you stated one thing attention-grabbing the opposite day, this firm was so totally different earlier than Sheryl began. And such as you stated, she has made an amazing impression, however I’d love to listen to, you realize, how this has gone for the myriad of years that you just’ve been collectively and what that appears like from then to now.

Mark Zuckerberg

Sure. You need to begin Sheryl, or ought to I?

Sheryl Sandberg

I suppose if it’s earlier than I used to be right here, you must begin?

Mark Zuckerberg

Yeah, effectively, I imply, I feel the largest factor that it’s troublesome for individuals right this moment to actually respect is simply how totally different the context was across the firm. I imply, right this moment, we’re this very profitable firm, it’s kind of exhausting to — you realize, when one thing works, it’s exhausting to look again and assume a world the place it may not have labored. But you realize, on the time when Sheryl joined, we had an amazing product, but it surely was a time earlier than there have been a whole lot of, you realize, the profitable net 2.0 firms as they have been known as. It simply wasn’t clear to lots of people that promoting was going to have the ability to gasoline a sustainable enterprise, a lot much less a massively profitable one.

We needed to make this large transition from being this type of free startup tradition to calling it a corporation. But I imply, that may even be overstating what it was on the time. But transitioning that to really being an actual firm that may execute on a bunch of various issues directly and have some rigor.

And these have been all issues that nobody on the firm had ever had any expertise doing, proper? So we constructed this product, I had some expertise coding and constructing issues that folks preferred, and I felt fairly assured that I might maintain doing that. And we might construct groups to maintain doing that. But nobody had ever constructed a giant worthwhile adverts enterprise or scaled an organization or a corporation to lots of or hundreds of individuals earlier than, and we didn’t understand how to do this.

And that’s when Sheryl got here in, and never solely put the buildings in place, the adverts facet actually simply centered us over a interval of years that that was going to be the principle approach that we have been going to earn money till it actually began working. But alongside the way in which, she simply educated so most of the key individuals right here and introduced in lots of people and educated them on tips on how to be the leaders that this firm wanted.

So, you realize, on the time when she joined, lots of people made this joke, though it actually wasn’t a joke on the time, that she was kind of the grownup supervision for the corporate.

But I feel now she’s kind of raised a technology of grownup managers on the firm, who I feel now can run very complicated and large issues on their very own. And I feel, Sheryl, you possibly can converse to this, however think about that simply seeing all these of us develop up and kind of take after you and the way you’ve been the way you constructed the group across the firm, might be one thing that you just take an enormous quantity of delight in.

But you realize, in the end, the check of any chief is can they step again from a day-to-day function and have issues proceed doing effectively, as a result of I imply, face it — whether or not you’re leaving the corporate, or simply if you wish to tackle extra accountability and new tasks, it’s kind of all of our job to have the ability to arrange the individuals round us to have the ability to do what we’re presently doing right this moment, in order that we will do extra or various things sooner or later. And I feel Sheryl has simply achieved that basically effectively. But from the place we sit right this moment, I feel it’s actually exhausting until you have been type of there on the time. And even for me, it’s exhausting to type of put myself again within the footwear of how chaotic issues have been 14 years in the past, however you actually have to understand that as a way to perceive simply how large of an impression Sheryl has had on this place.

Sheryl Sandberg

Thank you. So good. You know, once I suppose again to taking this job, Mark is so variety to share a lot credit score. But the product that this firm had constructed — that Mark had constructed, {that a} very small group of individuals had constructed — was so highly effective. And I had used it and joined, I suppose, Facebook, in 2007 as a person, and I used to be simply amazed that folks would share and put their actual identification on-line. And that wasn’t apparent to me coming from Google when search and anonymity and also you’re searching for particular info at a selected a part of time that goes to you solely. But there was all the time this nice ardour in what we have been doing.

And Mark all the time thought, he stated earlier than, I believed somebody would construct this, he simply didn’t know what can be them. But it was them. And I bought the chance to hitch. You talked concerning the delight I’d absorb a few of the individuals who have grown up right here — I’ve grown up right here too. And instantly I consider Naomi, who was right here once I joined who’s now taking up a chunk of what I used to be doing in one of many extra essential elements is Molly Cutler and her wonderful group, and has been such an amazing product, and enterprise and strategic chief for us however I feel was proper out of college then. Mark and I talked about rising up collectively.

And it’s actually true that none of us might have foreseen what this may very well be. None of us might have thought – I bear in mind, we have been in a bunch of downtown buildings —Mark, you’ll bear in mind —in Palo Alto after we took what was now basic campus. And I bear in mind taking that tour considering “Oh, my god, this place is huge. Do we need this much space?” And now I’m sitting so far-off proper now in my room from that campus that I feel is an efficient 15 minute stroll to the place I believed these buildings — perhaps 25 minutes — to the final of those buildings the place I believed that area was simply so ginormous. We would by no means fill it. But the factor is — have been you [Zuckerberg] gonna say one thing?

Mark Zuckerberg

No.

Sheryl Sandberg

I bear in mind once I informed you after we initially went to that campus, Mark was fearful that there wasn’t sufficient stuff on the campus and I informed you we’d attempt to get a McDonald’s, keep in mind that?

Mark Zuckerberg

Um, yeah, roughly.

Sheryl Sandberg

Roughly. We bought on this bus. And we had been searching for a campus for a very long time and I stated to Mark, I stated two issues are true: One, you’re not going to love this, and two, we’re signing the lease in like three days [laughing] as a result of we’re out of choices. And the rationale he didn’t like it’s that earlier than our groups — our wonderful facility groups — took over it was a bit of drab, and a bit of not full of life. That completely modified, however we by no means did fairly get McDonald’s there.

Mark Zuckerberg

That’s okay.

Sheryl Sandberg

But we produced higher meals on our personal due to our culinary group. But one factor that’s been true all alongside is the deep ambitions this firm has. And I’ve all the time thought that a part of the partnership Mark and I’ve is that Mark all the time pushed me to be larger, suppose bigger, get extra achieved. And I all the time clarify to Mark that there’s like 80 steps between right here and getting that achieved. But the targets of setting issues excessive.

And one of many issues I’m most enthusiastic about and why I’m so honored to remain on the board is I’d have by no means envisioned the merchandise we’re constructing within the metaverse and Mark’s imaginative and prescient for this, once I get to speak to him about it, which regularly seems like speaking to Mark firstly. When I used to be right here 14 years in the past and excited about becoming a member of, that he’s seeing one thing that I don’t know if anybody else sees and he has that once-in-a-generation visionary that I feel has achieved earlier than and can do it once more, with the assistance of everybody, of everybody on this firm.

Mark Zuckerberg

I’ve had this in my put up, however I do need to say it out loud, which is each single day on this job, somebody does one thing that blows me away. I simply checked out this. I stated, “Oh my God, this is so giving, so generous, so smart, so strategic, so creative.” I see that day-after-day. And that I feel is why we’ll proceed to be so profitable

Moderator

Oh, I imply, each time I get on, I’m like making an attempt to wipe away tears. Okay, I do know I’m being dramatic, but it surely’s true. There’s a remark right here that I’ve to learn for you each. It takes large empathy and braveness to acknowledge your long-term and longtime colleagues’ contributions, whereas ensuring the corporate has what it must evolve. So thanks, Mark, for modeling care and brave communication. And then Sheryl, in your work, your grace, your affect, what you are promoting acumen, that can go away a long-lasting legacy. I imply, that just about sums it up, for certain, you each have allowed me to have a seat on the desk and mentors of mine, and I’ll be endlessly grateful. And I do know that a whole lot of workers really feel the identical. We have about two minutes left. So any closing ideas in any respect to share?

Mark Zuckerberg

Maybe I’ll simply shut, equally to how I opened, however I simply suppose that it actually is tough to overstate the impression that Sheryl has had on this place. And I feel a lot of what we’ve constructed now versus again to issues that she has achieved. I’m personally going to be unhappy to not get an opportunity to work with you as intently going ahead, despite the fact that I’m glad that you just’re gonna be on the board. But greater than something, I’m simply grateful for the whole lot that you just’ve achieved. And, and for leaving the corporate in such place with — despite the fact that there’s quite a bit that we nonetheless must do and a whole lot of challenges — organizationally and from a individuals perspective, we have now nice individuals and a whole lot of that, I feel is due to the groups that you just’ve constructed. So I’m simply extremely grateful. And I feel it’s actually exhausting to specific that sufficient for what you’ve achieved for this place.

Sheryl Sandberg

I’ll shut saying the identical factor. I’m extremely grateful to you, Mark. Your kindness and your generosity, the fervour with which you run this firm, day-after-day is touched many lives. You’ve touched the lives of not simply hundreds of thousands, however billions of individuals all over the world. And I’m extremely grateful to the individuals who have joined us, to the individuals who work right here, to the individuals who will proceed to construct the merchandise that I’m gonna proceed to make use of and revel in, hopefully for the remainder of my life. Deep, deep, deep, deep love and gratitude. Thank you all. Thank you, Mark.

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