Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook. Picture: Bloomberg, Getty
Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook. Picture: Bloomberg, Getty

Facebook chief splits with billionaire

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has split with billionaire Bobby Kotick after three years amid building pressure at work and calls to break up the social media giant.

The New York Post reports that Ms Sandberg, 49, and Activision Blizzard CEO Mr Kotick, 56, began dating in 2016, a year after the loss of her beloved husband, Dave Goldberg.

At the time, sources said Mr Kotick was a huge source of strength for Ms Sandberg.

Billionaire Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. Picture: AP
Billionaire Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. Picture: AP

But Ms Sandberg has more recently been on a worldwide "apology tour" to re-energise Facebook after it was reported in 2018 that she oversaw an "aggressive lobbying campaign" by research firm Cambridge Analytica - which accessed Facebook users' data for political purposes ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly blamed Ms Sandberg, author of the smash hit Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will To Lead, saying she should have been more aggressive in controlling the storm.

Ms Sandberg then began spending "more . . . time safeguarding the company".

Sheryl Sandberg and her late husband Dave Goldberg in 2011. Picture: AP
Sheryl Sandberg and her late husband Dave Goldberg in 2011. Picture: AP

A source close to the former couple said, "Sheryl is under a huge amount of work stress right now. And she and Bobby are very different people.

"She's a left-wing Democrat who takes herself very seriously. He's a right-wing Republican who, if he wasn't a very, very successful businessman, he'd probably be a stand-up comedian."

The source added: "Sheryl likes to do things on weekends like take her kids to help out in a soup kitchen, while Bobby likes flying helicopters. Understandably, she is fully devoted to her children and work at the moment."

Mr Goldberg died in Mexico in 2015, and Ms Sandberg told the Guardian in 2017 about her new relationship with Kotick: "Men date sooner, men date more, and women get judged more.

"And, you know, obviously that's super unfair. I think I'm helping people remember that dating, for those who want to do it, is part of moving forward . . . If I could I would only date Dave . . . I just had that taken away from me."

Representatives for Ms Sandberg and Mr Kotich did not respond to calls from the Post.

This story originally appeared in the New York Post and is reprinted here with permission.



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