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Launched in February 2004, Facebook is a social networking service founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. Early investors include Microsoft and Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka- shing, through his namesake charitable foundation. Facebook’s US$16 billion initial public offering in May 2012 generated huge investor interest although the shares subsequently slumped in price.

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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

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