Sheryl Sandberg’s surprising exit as COO of Facebook parent company Meta, announced Tuesday, happened amid a company investigation into possible ethical breaches, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
According to WSJ, Meta has been investigating Sandberg’s “activities” at the company. This includes “a review of her use of corporate resources to help plan her coming wedding,” the paper said. Sandberg is engaged to consultant and television producer Tom Bernthal, the brother of actor Jon Bernthal.
That review was still ongoing as recently as May, WSJ said.
In a statement provided to the Wall Street Journal, the company denied that the investigation was linked to Sandberg’s exit from the company she’d worked at for 14 years. “None of this has anything to do with her personal decision to leave,” Meta spokesperson Caroline Nolan said.
In addition, the new report drew a link to WSJ reporting in April that revealed Sandberg was under “scrutiny” at Meta for her efforts in 2016 and 2019 to kill an unflattering story about her ex-boyfriend, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, that would have been published by the UK tabloid The Daily Mail. Kotick, the Journal says, was accused of harassing one of his ex-girlfriends and was hit with a temporary restraining order in 2014. Sandberg’s efforts to quash the story, WSJ said, were in part because she worried it “would reflect negatively on her reputation as an advocate for women.”
Nolan previously told WSJ that this matter had been resolved.
Representatives for Facebook and Meta didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.
In addition to the above, the Wall Street Journal cited sources who say Sandberg is “burned out” in part due to the company’s focus on the so-called “metaverse,” and that her exit was “voluntary.”
Sandberg will continue to serve on Meta’s board of directors. She has also said she will be focusing more on her foundation and philanthropic work. Her direct reports will transition in coming months as she prepares for her departure in the fall.