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Meta losing Sheryl Sandberg leaves a 'massive hole,' analyst warns

Losing a key architect of the modern-day Meta (FB) in Sheryl Sandberg is a hit to the Facebook parent’s business, one long-term Wall Street analyst says.

“If you look at the issues, this is no question a blow. She has had a massive impact. There will be a massive hole left by her departure,” said Jefferies analyst Brent Thill on Yahoo Finance Live.

Sandberg said Wednesday in a Facebook post she is stepping down as chief operating officer (COO), a role she has served in for 14 years. The long-time Meta exec has been the public face of the company for years, and has helped guide the business through multiple high-profile crises such as the Cambridge Analytica debacle.

Sandberg has also been a champion of female leadership in Silicon Valley, authoring the popular book “Lean In” back in 2013.

“When I took this job in 2008, I hoped I would be in this role for five years. Fourteen years later, it is time for me to write the next chapter of my life. I am not entirely sure what the future will bring — I have learned no one ever is,” Sandberg said.

Sandberg will stay on Meta’s board of directors, but plans to devote her attention to various philanthropic initiatives.

Meta’s chief growth officer Javier Olivan will take over Sandberg’s role as COO in the coming months.

Jefferies’ Thill says while Sandberg’s departure is unwelcome, the company can continue to perform well and execute with its expansion into the metaverse, the 3-D version of the internet that tech executives are obsessed with.

“Ultimately, I think this is one individual and they have a talented bench. They have proved that they have got individuals that have been there for a long time and that know the company, know multiple aspects of the business and can step in and lead. So I don’t believe that this is going to be a massive issue,” added Thill.

Investors seem to agree: shares of Meta were up nearly 5% as of 1 p.m. EST on Thursday.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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