Sheryl Sandberg can officially change her Facebook status to ‘billionaire’

Upbeat Facebook stock performance brings executive's wealth to new heights

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 January, 2014, 1:26pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 January, 2014, 1:27pm

When Sheryl Sandberg heads to this week’s World Economic Forum in Switzerland, she will walk in as a billionaire.

Reports said the Facebook chief operation officer’s wealth officially surpassed US$1 billion on Wednesday on the back of a surge in Facebook stocks, of which she holds about 12.3 million shares. Facebook stocks closed at US$57.51 on Thursday, Bloomberg reported.

At 44, the Harvard-educated Sandberg is one of the youngest female billionaires in the world.

She has worked at internet giant Google and global coffee chain Starbucks, and has written a bestselling book Lean In: Women Work and the Will to Lead.

In 2008, Sandberg joined the popular social network company, becoming its first female director. With her billion-dollar wealth, she now joins the ranks of Facebook’s 29-year-old CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose net worth last year grew by US$12.4 billion, and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, who has an estimated US$3.2 billion fortune.

Facebook shares sold at their initial public offering in May 2012 for US$38, but soon after dropped in value – before gradually recovering.

In previous Davos forums, Sandberg led panels that touched on the gender imbalance in the world’s boardrooms, and the barriers confronting women from breaking into the male-dominated corporate world.

Apart from her Silicon Valley triumphs, the married mother-of-two has also worked as a World Bank economist, as chief of staff for former US Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers. Sandberg made nearly US$31 million in 2011 alone, including base salary, bonuses and stock awards.

While Sandberg is said to maintain a strong relationship with Zuckerberg, the two have disagreed over issues such as whether to expand the business into China, previous reports have said.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse