Sheryl Kara Sandberg is an American business executive, billionaire and philanthropist. Sandberg is the chief operating officer (COO) of Facebook and the founder of LeanIn.Org. In June 2012, she was elected to Facebook's board of directors, becoming the first woman to serve on its board. Prior to joining Facebook as its COO, Sandberg was vice president of global online sales and operations at Google, and was involved in its philanthropic arm Google.org. Before that, Sandberg served as chief of staff for United States Secretary of the Treasury, Lawrence Summers.
In 2012, she was named in the Time 100, an annual list of the most influential people in the world. As of December 2019, Sandberg is reported to be worth over US$1.8 billion, due to her stock holdings in Facebook and other companies.
Early life and education
Sandberg was born in 1969 in Washington, D.C., to a Jewish family, the daughter of Adele (née Einhorn) and Joel Sandberg, and the oldest of three children. Her father is an ophthalmologist, and her mother was a college teacher of French language.
Her family moved to North Miami Beach, Florida, when she was two years old. She attended North Miami Beach High School, from which she graduated in 1987 ranked ninth in her class. She was sophomore class president, became a member of the National Honor Society, and was on the senior class executive board. Sandberg taught aerobics in the 1980s while in high school.
In 1987, Sandberg enrolled at Harvard College. She graduated in 1991 summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and was awarded the John H. Williams Prize for the top graduating student in economics. While at Harvard, she co-founded an organization called Women in Economics and Government. She also met Professor Lawrence Summers, who became her mentor and thesis adviser. Summers recruited her to be his research assistant at the World Bank, where she worked for approximately one year on health projects in India dealing with leprosy, AIDS, and blindness.
In 1993, she enrolled at Harvard Business School and in 1995 she earned her MBA with highest distinction. In her first year of business school, she earned a fellowship.
After graduating from business school in the spring of 1995, Sandberg worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company for approximately one year (1995–1996). From 1996 to 2001 she again worked for Larry Summers, who was then serving as the United States Secretary of the Treasury under President Bill Clinton. Sandberg assisted in the Treasury's work on forgiving debt in the developing world during the Asian financial crisis.
She later joined Google, where she was responsible for online sales of Google's advertising and publishing products as well as for sales operations of Google's consumer products and Google Book Search. During her time at Google, she grew the ad and sales team from four people to 4,000.
In late 2007, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive of Facebook, met Sandberg at a Christmas party held by Dan Rosensweig. Zuckerberg had no formal search for a Chief Operating Officer (COO), but thought of Sandberg as "a perfect fit" for this role. In March 2008, Facebook announced the hiring of Sandberg for the role of COO and her leaving Google.
After joining the company, Sandberg quickly began trying to figure out how to make Facebook profitable. Before she joined, the company was "primarily interested in building a really cool site; profits, they assumed, would follow." By late spring, Facebook's leadership had agreed to rely on advertising, "with the ads discreetly presented"; by 2010, Facebook became profitable. According to Facebook, she oversees the firm's business operations including sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy, and communications.
In 2012, she became the eighth member (and the first woman) of Facebook's board of directors.
In April 2014, it was reported that Sandberg had sold over half of her shares in Facebook since the company went public. At the time of Facebook's IPO, she held approximately 41 million shares in the company; after several rounds of sales she is left with around 17.2 million shares, amounting to a stake of 0.5% in the company, worth about $1 billion.