The Facebook IPO Players Club: Sheryl Sandberg

They were doing just fine before, but the biggest of Facebook's minority owners are about to be catapulted into a far more elite bracket. Sheryl Sandberg will make millions in equivalent value tomorrow, but has to stick with Facebook long term to earn billions.

sandbergWho is she: Sheryl Sandberg is, according to her Wikipedia page, an "American businesswoman," but that's underselling it enormously: Before working for the world's biggest social network, she was VP of global online sales and operations at the world's biggest search engine and before that she was Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of the Treasury. She's got a BA in Economics and an MBA from Harvard. Basically, Sheryl is about as high a flyer as you can get. Speaking about her position as one of the most powerful women in Silicon Valley late last year, Sandberg noted there's a "stalled revolution for women" right now, but that having a supportive partner is vital. As an equal-opportunities thinker you might think that's good advice for either gender, but Sandberg thinks it's even more important for women who tend to be more laid-back than men in their career thinking. She jokes that the one question she won't answer from Zuck is "what was it like before the web?"

What's her connection to Facebook?: Technically Sandberg is Facebook's Chief Operating Officer, and was recruited to the role in 2007 by Zuckerberg. But her more important role may be the twice-weekly private meetings (Monday morning, Friday afternoon) that she set up with him, where she presumably adds her massive business savvy in a moderating way to Zuck's geek brain power, and as he says does "All that stuff that in other companies I might have to do."

What's she worth now: Unclear, but she's Facebook's highest paid executive, with a current salary reported in Facebook's S-1 form of $300,000 plus bonuses—which means in 2011 she took home about $30.9 million dollars. 

What value could she earn from Facebook's IPO: Sandberg owns over 38 million restricted stock units, worth over $1.1 billion at a share price of $30 per share at IPO. She has to stay until 2020 for those to be completely vested to her, however.

What she may do with the money: Sandberg's not short of cash already, but by 2020 that billion dollars will likely be very tempting, and could set Sandberg and her family up forever, without her having to do another day's work. Looking at her dynamic career, that doesn't seem likely though.

UPDATE

What she'll make at IPO: At $34 per share, Sandberg will have stock worth nearly $1.3 billion in Facebook. 

What she'll do with the money: Sandberg is recognised as being as crucial to the runaway success of Facebook as her boss himself, so she's golden-handcuffed to the firm to realize all of this new capital. But we now know she's got a very strong position on work-life balance and leaves work at 5:30 p.m. on the dot. That sounds like pretty decent working conditions, although Sandberg's role as wise advisor to Zuckerberg may become more complex post-IPO when the young firm also has to bow to the whims of shareholders as well as Zuck's yearnings.

UPDATE 2

Sandberg was just named as Facebook's very first female member of the company's Board of Directors, taking an eigth seat at the table. This will cement Sandberg more firmly into the company, though it's been seen as a controversially late move by Facebook, since Sandberg is widely seen as being one of the company's biggest power players and that more than 50% of Facebook's users are women.

It's also recently emerged that Sandberg was on The New York Times' list of potential targets as a new CEO, although the newspaper never approached her. 

Read about others in the Facebook IPO Players Club:

 

[Image: Flickr user World Economic Forum]

Chat about this news with Kit Eaton on Twitter and Fast Company too.

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