Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's Job Just Got A Little Smaller

In Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s bio on the company’ investor relations page, it says that she “oversees the firm’s business operations,” including “marketing.”

This is no longer true.

Facebook marketing is now officially the domain of Facebook’s vice president of product, Chris Cox.

To be clear: Sandberg will remain in charge of Facebook’s “global marketing solutions” — Facebook’s advertising business, which helps clients market themselves.

Cox, who reports to Mark Zuckerberg, is now responsible for managing the Facebook brand as it is perceived by consumers.

New Facebook chief marketing officer Gary Briggs will report to him. Eric Antonow, whom Briggs is replacing, had reported to Sandberg. Cotton Delo at Advertising Age first reported this change.

For years now, there has been perpetual gossip that Sandberg, who used to work in Washington, D.C., will some day quit Facebook to run for public office.

We’ve been cautioned by a friend of Sandberg’s that this small, technical slimming of her role is not an indication that these rumours are about to come true. Obviously she may still leave at some point.

The real explanation is that Cox used to officially run product marketing, and that he never really stopped, even when Antonow was reporting to Sandberg.

This change just makes what was already happening, official.

Cox is a close confidant of Mark Zuckerberg’s. Through long conversations, the two have developed a sense of what the company is trying to accomplish.

As the person in charge of developing Facebook’s products, it makes sense that he’d be tasked with explaining role those products should play in consumers’ lives.

For many who work at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Cox is as much the embodiment of Facebook’s brand as Zuckerberg is.

Facebook puts on conferences all the time, and Cox is a frequent speaker at them.

If you watch Cox talk enough, you can start to hear the cadences of his speech and the kinds of metaphors he uses to describe Facebook in Facebook’s television commercials.

Here’s Cox at a conference last year:

Here is Facebook’s “chair” commercial from the same year:

Merely a technical change in reporting or no, the fact is Chris Cox continues to gain power and influence at Facebook — more than his current title would suggest.

How long till this “vice president of product” is the clear number two at Facebook — or number one somewhere else?

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