Marne Levine’s exit costs Meta another female leader. Meet the exec who’s taking over half her job

From left: Marne Levine is stepping down as Meta’s chief business officer; Nicola Mendelsohn will inherit half her job as head of Meta’s global business group.
Courtesy of Meta

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! The formula shortage is still ongoing; Black mothers and babies are at greater risk during childbirth regardless of their socioeconomic status; and Marne Levine is stepping down as Meta’s chief business officer. Have a happy Valentine’s Day!

Leaving her post. Marne Levine joined Facebook 13 years ago as VP of global policy after she was recruited to the then-startup by her former U.S. Treasury Department colleague, Sheryl Sandberg. Levine rose through the ranks alongside Sandberg, serving as COO of Instagram and, most recently, as chief business officer for Meta.

But Levine will leave her role this month and depart Meta this summer, she announced yesterday, eight months after Sandberg’s own exit announcement. “Meta has and will continue to be a core part of my identity, and I will be forever grateful for this place, for the work we have done together, and for the people—past and present—in it,” Levine wrote in a Facebook post.

As chief business officer, Levine oversaw the tech giant’s $113 billion advertising business, dealing with challenges like the supercharged growth of competitor TikTok. Meta has struggled with three consecutive quarters of declining revenue; the company laid off 11,000 employees, or 13% of its workforce, in November and is reportedly preparing for further cuts.

Coming so soon after Sandberg’s own exit, Levine’s departure is a notable one. In 2021, Carolyn Everson left the company; the former ads chief was seen as a candidate to run the business Levine ended up taking over. All those goodbyes have cost Meta three of the most prominent senior women in its C-suite. While Sandberg jumped into her work on women’s issues after her departure, Levine said she plans to “recharge and prioritize some quality time with family” before beginning her “next professional chapter.”

Nicola Mendelsohn, who reported to Levine as a VP, will inherit half of her job and become head of the global business group; the other half will go to head of online sales, Justin Osofsky. Both executives will report to COO Javier Olivan, who took over from Sandberg.

From left: Marne Levine is stepping down as Meta’s chief business officer; Nicola Mendelsohn will inherit half her job as head of Meta’s global business group.
Courtesy of Meta

I spoke to Mendelsohn yesterday after Levine’s announcement. Mendelsohn, a longtime advertising executive who hails from the U.K., first met Levine more than a decade ago and joined the company, then known as Facebook, in 2013. “It’s bittersweet, but it’s an opportunity for Justin and I to take on additional responsibilities,” Mendelsohn told me. Mendelsohn will focus on large-scale partners, while Osofsky oversees small-business purchasers who buy ads without interacting with a Meta staffer.

With some of Levine’s responsibilities now under her belt, Mendelsohn will expand her remit to include both global partnerships and engineering, a restructuring meant to bring product and business closer together. “It creates a single, external-facing business partnerships organization,” she says. The reorg allows Meta to respond to feedback on products like business messaging and reels faster, Mendelsohn says.

While Mendelsohn is now one of Meta’s seniormost women under Olivan and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, she points to other female leaders still in the organization, including new, 37-year-old CFO Susan Li. “We’ve got a strong bench of senior female leaders,” she says. “And they’re the ones who are leading the company in so many different areas.”

Emma Hinchliffe

MPW Next Gen: Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit is returning to San Diego, May 16–17, 2023. This year’s event will bring together the rising stars of corporate America alongside founders and leaders in the arts, athletics, politics, philanthropy, and more. Apply to attend here or nominate someone to attend here.

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“The narrative by men is that no one is watching, there’s no money to be made. It’s nonsensical from a business standpoint.” 

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