Sandber’s resignation comes as Meta struggles with slowing growth and rising costs. It is transforming from a social media company to one focused on building the metaverse, a collection of virtual worlds that could be a decade away. Currently serving as the chief growth officer, Olivan has been credited to be the key force behind the company’s explosive expansion internationally.
Javier Olivan, a veteran of Meta platforms (earlier, and better known as Facebook), is set to succeed Sheryl Sandberg as the chief operating officer after she announced the decision to step down from the post on Wednesday. Said to be the main engine behind Meta’s rapid growth, Sandberg is resigning after spending 14 years at the firm. Sandberg is leaving Meta in the fall and will continue to serve on the company’s board, reports said.
The move comes as Meta struggles with slowing growth and rising costs. It is transforming from a social media company to one focused on building the metaverse, a collection of virtual worlds that could be a decade away.
Who is Javier Olivan
Currently serving as the chief growth officer, Olivan has been credited to be the key force behind the company’s international explosive expansion. He joined Facebook in 2007 when the social media platform has fewer than 50 million people and “a very small portion of users coming from outside the US.” Now, it has nearly 3.6 billion users across Facebook and other apps such as Instagram, while around 91 per cent of monthly users come from outside the US and Canada.
According to reports, he is also the one who pushed Facebook to acquire the instant messaging app WhatsApp which remains one of the most significant buyouts of the company with a $19 billion acquisition deal. He has also worked with Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Meta platforms, on Internet.org — an ambitious Facebook project to connect people with the internet in less developed countries.
Before Facebook, Olivan was part of Japan’s NTT and Siemens.
The world knows very little about him as he has remained mostly behind the scene. As per a CNBC report, he was born in the small Spanish municipality of Sabiñánigo in 1977. He worked in Europe, Asia before making his way to Silicon Valley.
He has degrees in electrical and industrial engineering from the University of Navarra and a master’s in business administration from Stanford University.
According to some media reports, Olivan enjoys paragliding and surfing. In his new job, he will continue to lead infrastructure and corporate development. But his portfolio will also include advertising and business products, Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Announces it’s Changing its (Facebook) Name to “Meta”
At Facebook Connect, Mark Zuckerberg revealed a new company name, Meta, plus new VR and AR technologies the company is developing for the future.
Facebook is now Meta
As reported by The Verge Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced yesterday at the company’s Connect event that the company’s new name will be Meta.
“We are a company that builds technology to connect,” Zuckerberg said.
“Together, we can finally put people at the center of our technology. And together, we can unlock a massively bigger creator economy.”
“To reflect who we are and what we hope to build,” he added. He said the name Facebook doesn’t fully encompass everything the company does now and is still closely linked to one product. “But over time, I hope we are seen as a metaverse company.”
Zuckerberg owns the Twitter handle @meta (whose tweets are protected as of this writing) and meta.com which now redirects to a welcome page on Facebook that outlines the changes.
As The Verge first reported on October 19th, the rebrand is part of the company’s efforts to shift gears away from being known as just a social media company to focus on Zuckerberg’s plans for building the metaverse. In July, he told The Verge that over the next several years, Facebook would “effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company.”
Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post Thursday that the company’s corporate structure would not be changing, but how it reports financial results will. “Starting with our results for the fourth quarter of 2021, we plan to report on two operating segments: Family of Apps and Reality Labs” he explained. “We also intend to start trading under the new stock ticker we have reserved, MVRS, on December 1. Yesterday’s announcement does not affect how we use or share data.”
Facebook has been under intense scrutiny over the past several weeks, after revelations based on damning internal documents provided to the Wall Street Journal Whistleblower Frances Haugan showed, among other things, that Facebook’s Instagram platform had become a toxic place for teenagers, especially girls. And antitrust regulators are pushing for the company to be broken up, as public trust in the social media platform is flagging.
On Monday, multiple news outlets published further details of the internal documents disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission and provided to Congress in redacted form. They showed the deep concern among Facebook’s researchers that its user base was aging, and the platform was losing traction among younger generations. The documents also showed Facebook had a tiered system to prioritize which countries would receive enhanced protections around elections.
Early speculation focused on a change similar to Google’s 2015 rebrand when it announced it would become one of several companies under the umbrella of a larger holding company called Alphabet. For Facebook, the original “blue” app would join Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus under a parent company.
The Greek word “Meta”
CNN Business reported that Zuckerberg, who said he loved studying classics in school, said the name was inspired by the Greek word meta, which means “beyond.” “For me, it symbolizes that there is always more to build.”
Facebook did not announce any executive changes on Thursday. But on Zuckerberg’s personal Facebook page, his job title was changed to: “Founder and CEO at Meta. “
When asked by The Verge if he would remain CEO at Facebook in the next 5 years, he said: “Probably. I don’t have a specific date for how long I want to be doing this. I guess what I could say is I’m very excited about the next chapter of what we’re doing.
Zuckerberg also announced Messenger calling is coming to VR, plans to operate a virtual marketplace where developers can sell virtual goods and a new home screen in Oculus Quest to make chatting and games in the virtual world more social.
“Your devices won’t be the focal point of your attention anymore,” he said.
“We’re starting to see a lot of these technologies coming together in the next five or 10 years. A lot of this is going to be mainstream and a lot of us will be creating and inhabiting worlds that are just as detailed and convincing as this one, on a daily basis.”
A number of major companies have changed established brands over the years. Kentucky Fried Chicken shortened its name to KFC, Japanese car brand Datsun became Nissan. Some high-profile name changes have followed scandal or controversy. Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro, changed its name to Altria, for example, and ValuJet became AirTran after one of its planes crashed in 1996.
Other name changes are intended to reflect the company’s broader ambitions. Snapchat rebranded as Snap in 2016 to reflect its foray into hardware and Google restructured the company with a new name, Alphabet, and plans to grow a variety of business divisions.