Sheryl Sandberg officially stepped down from her post as Meta COO in August, but the company will continue to pay for her personal security into 2023, Reuters reports. The board, citing "continuing threats to her safety," agreed to pay for security services from October 1st through June 30th, 2023, with protection available to Sandberg at her residences and while she is traveling.
It is unclear what threats Sandberg has been receiving that would warrant the company paying for continuing protection after she has resigned. We have asked Meta for comment and will update this story if the company chooses to elaborate.
Sheryl Sandberg joined Meta in 2008, and her last official day as an employee was September 30th. Going forward, she will continue to serve on Meta's board and receive compensation as a non-employee director. Although Sandberg apparently resigned of her own volition, her final chapter at the company was marred by personal scandal. Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported that Sandberg used company resources to help kill negative reporting about Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, who she was said to be dating at the time.
Two months later, the Journal also reported that Meta had launched an internal investigation into Sandberg's use of company resources, and that the inquiry actually extended back "several years." In addition to the allegations about protecting Kotick from negative press, Sandberg was also reportedly being investigated for possibly using company funds to pay for her 2022 wedding. Meta lawyers were also reportedly looking into whether and how Facebook staff helped Sandberg and her foundation, Lean In, promote her latest book, Option B.
Sandberg's final years on the job were also marked by a series of company crises, including the 2019 Cambridge Analytica scandal; allegations of enabling genocide in Myanmar; shrinking revenue earlier this year; and a change last year in iOS's approach to third-party app tracking that undercut the core of Meta's business model.
It is not unusual for Facebook to invest heavily on personal security for its top executives. In 2020, the company reportedly spent $23.4 million in 2020 to protect CEO Mark Zuckerberg. However, the board's announcement on Friday comes days after Meta was reported to have suspended all hiring, with a warning of possible layoffs on the way, making for some potentially awkward optics.