Meta's former chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg announced she will be departing the tech giant's board

San Francisco (AFP) - Meta’s former chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, announced that she is leaving the company’s board after more than a decade.

One of the most influential women in Silicon Valley, Sandberg, 54, will depart the board as the tech juggernaut behind Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram faces increased regulatory scrutiny.

Sandberg said on Wednesday that she would not stand for re-election once her term ends in May, but would serve as an advisor to the company thereafter.

“With a heart filled with gratitude and a mind filled with memories, I let the Meta board know that I will not stand for reelection this May,” Sandberg posted on Facebook.

“Serving as Facebook’s - and then Meta’s - COO for 14½ years and a board member for 12 years has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” she wrote.

Mark Zuckerberg, Meta CEO, thanked Sandberg for her work at the social media giant.

“Your dedication and guidance have been instrumental in driving our success and I am grateful for your unwavering commitment to me and Meta over the years. I look forward to this next chapter together!” Zuckerberg commented on her Facebook post.

Sandberg resigned as Meta COO in June 2022 after a tenure that included helping steer Facebook to advertising dominance.

A Harvard-educated executive, Sandberg joined Facebook when it was still a startup, playing a formative and often public-facing role in its development into a multi-billion dollar advertising empire that acquired Instagram and WhatsApp.

In 2021, the company rebranded as Meta in an effort to focus on its virtual reality vision for the future and move past its reputation as a scandal-plagued social network faced with scrutiny over how it handles privacy and data, as well as accusations that its products may cause harm to teens, public discourse and democracy.

Facebook was about four years old in 2008 when Sandberg came on board as a mature, guiding hand at a tech firm with the motto “move fast and break things.”

Her job made her not only a recognizable face in tech but also a household name, particularly thanks to her 2013 book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.”

The best seller encouraged women to “lean in” to their careers to reach their full potential and overcome workforce obstacles.

It drew applause from admirers, who credited her with articulating a modern feminist vision, and sharp criticism from detractors who said her lofty position made her out of touch with the grueling personal costs of combining career and family.