Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday he plans to stay on as company chairman and work with COO Sheryl Sandberg “for decades more to come,” remarks that come amid mounting scrutiny of their management efforts.
The embattled Facebook chief was pressed on whether he plans to step down from leading the company board. “That’s not the plan,” he told CNN. “I’m certainly not currently thinking that that makes sense.”
The remarks came during Zuckerberg’s first interview since The New York Times reported on Facebook’s ties to the Definers Public Affairs communications firm, which sought to link critics of the company to liberal financier George Soros, a favorite target for conservative criticism.
Asked whether he could definitively rule out Sandberg leaving Facebook, Zuckerberg said, “Yeah. Look, Sheryl is a really important part of this company.”
He later added, “I hope that we work together for decades more to come.”
Zuckerberg denied having prior knowledge Facebook hired Definers, reiterating a claim that he only learned of the relationship from the Times report.
Zuckerberg also disputed reporting by the Times that fear of potential conservative backlash affected internal discussions at Facebook over whether to remove a post from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2015.
“That was certainly not a part of the conversation that I had,” he said. The tech executive said he felt it’s important for users to see what political leaders are saying, and that their remarks often are given a “special deference.”