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Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg becomes one of the world's youngest female billionaires


David De Jong

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Sheryl Sandberg: One of the world's youngest female billionaires.

Sheryl Sandberg: One of the world's youngest female billionaires. Photo: Bloomberg

Sheryl Sandberg's fortune has surpassed $US1 billion ($1.1 billion) after Facebook shares closed at a record high, making the 44-year-old one of the world's youngest female billionaires.

The chief operating officer of the world's most popular social network owns about 12.3 million shares of the company, which closed at $US58.51 in New York. Her stake is valued at about $US750 million.

Sandberg has collected more than $US300 million selling shares since the company's 2012 initial public offering, and owns about 4.7 million stock options that began vesting last May. The 44-year-old is one of the youngest female billionaires in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

"She was brought in to figure out how to make money," said David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect. "It's proving to be one of the greatest stories in business history."

Sandberg's rise in wealth mirrors her broadening role on the global stage. The one-time chief of staff for former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers is a donor to US President Barack Obama, sits on the boards of Facebook, Starbucks and Disney, and authored the bestselling book Lean In. She was lured from rival tech giant Google in 2008.

"She went to Google, moved on to go to Facebook, went to write a book, and she'll know when to run for political office, and probably win that office," Kirkpatrick said.

Facebook spokeswoman Elisabeth Diana declined to comment on Sandberg's net worth. The billionaire will attend the World Economic Forum's annual meeting this week in Davos, Switzerland.

Zuckerberg gains

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's 29-year-old CEO, sold more than $US2 billion in stock last month and donated another $US1 billion to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The world's 23rd- richest person added $US12.4 billion to his net worth in 2013, according to the Bloomberg ranking.

Facebook's other co-founders have also seen their fortunes surge. Dustin Moskovitz, the 29-year-old who founded Facebook with Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin and Chris Hughes at Harvard University, is the world's 174th-richest person with a net worth of $US7.4 billion. He's wealthier than Liberty Media chairman John Malone and fashion mogul Ralph Lauren, and is the youngest billionaire on Earth.

Saverin, 31, controls a $US3.2 billion fortune. Hughes, 30, has a net worth of more than $US500 million. He bought the New Republic magazine in March 2012.

Other executives

Peter Thiel, Facebook's first outside investor, sold most of his stake in the company in August 2012, after restrictions on insider sales ended. The majority of the PayPal co- founder's $US2.3 billion net worth is derived from his stake in software developer Palantir Technologies.

Facebook's chief financial officer David Ebersman also sold stock. The former Genentech executive has collected almost $US100 million selling shares in the past year, according to regulatory filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. He owns more than 5 million shares, including stock options, valued at about $US300 million.

Mike Schroepfer, the company's chief technology officer, has a stake valued at more than $US100 million. The Mozilla and Sun Microsystems veteran has collected about $US50 million selling Facebook stock.


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