- June 10, 2021
- Posted by: Stratford Team
- Category: Markets
- Facebook’s top ad sales executive is leaving after 10 years, spurring talk that she’s heading for a CEO role.
- Carolyn Everson was the company’s point person fielding activists’ and advertisers’ complaints last year.
- She also leaves as power is shifting at Facebook, with the hire of a new chief business officer.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Facebook’s top ad sales executive Carolyn Everson is exiting after more than 10 years, and industry talk has turned to why she left and where she’ll go next.
Two industry friends said they believe she wants to be a CEO, with one adding that an early-stage, California-based media, marketing and tech company is pursuing her.
Her exit also comes as power is shifting at Facebook. The company named CRO David Fischer’s replacement last week, naming Marne Levine to the new role of chief business officer, a role above Everson’s position as vice president of the global business group.
“Carolyn wants to be a CEO. Even if Marne [Levine, VP Facebook global partnerships] hadn’t been brought in, that represents a ceiling for her there and she wants to have a new opportunity,” one of the industry pals said.
This person said that Everson had been approached about various ad tech ventures in the past. “With that kind of a profile and level of talent, she’s on a lot of people’s list.”
Everson, who couldn’t be reached for comment, may also have simply felt it was time to do something new after a year when much of the US workforce has been working from home and re-evaluating the future.
“These jobs are brutally exhausting and they don’t change. That’s a lot of years to be doing the same thing over and over,” this person said.
Facebook was the focus of an ad boycott by major brands in the middle of 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests for failing to remove hate speech. It has also been criticized for being a platform for those who organized the attacks on the Capitol Hill.
Everson became the point of contact for activists’ complaints that Facebook was a platform for hate and held a call with them last summer to listen to their criticisms. Everson has also weathered advertisers’ complaints about crises including Facebook’s live streaming of a shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.
“No one has taken bullets more than Carolyn, and she’s done it elegantly,” the second industry friend said.
Despite criticism of Facebook’s governance practices as on-the-fly, advertisers have continued to pour money into the platform.
Even so, Facebook said recently its ad revenue would slow down in the second half of this year, partly the result of Apple’s IOS changes that make it more difficult for Facebook to track and monetize consumers’ online habits.
“Frankly, there’s so much heat around Facebook and she stayed the course brilliantly and held her own head high,” said this person.
Everson started out as head of ad sales at ViacomCBS’ MTV Networks and quit to join Microsoft at age 35. She was there eight months in 2011 before she was poached by Facebook in a role reporting to Fischer, who said in March he would step down as CRO.