Carolyn Everson’s exit from Facebook signals a new era for the advertising business at the social network and it came as a surprise for people at the company and the brands who worked closely with her for more than 10 years.
Everson did not give a definitive reason for her immediate departure, but people close to her said she had grown frustrated running interference for Facebook and its foibles. Then last week, Everson was hurt when Facebook gave the chief business officer position to Marne Levine, a job that Everson would have taken if offered, according to several people who are close to Everson and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The executive shake-up would have made Levine Everson’s new boss. Everson had been directly reporting to David Fischer, chief revenue officer, but he announced in March he would step away. “I think it’s outrageous that she just wasn’t given that job,” says one Everson confidant. “She shouldn’t have even had to audition.”
Fischer will officially leave Facebook in the fall, and Levine's ascension to chief business officer placed her above Fischer in the organization's hierarchy.
Everson did not return a request for comment on Wednesday. Everson had been with Facebook since 2011, serving as head of ad sales as the leader of global business group.
People within Facebook and at ad agencies who have worked with Everson said her resignation was abrupt, but that it was her decision to leave, not Facebook’s. “People at Facebook were as surprised as we were at the news,” says one ad agency exec after receiving the news.
Facebook has not commented publicly on Everson except for a note wishing her well. “We wish Carolyn the best as she moves into a new chapter,” the statement said. “We are grateful for her contributions.”
Everson’s move is a blow to Facebook’s advertising mission, according to ad agency execs who built close ties to Facebook under her stewardship. Facebook has made a series of missteps that put the company at odds with advertisers over the years, and Everson was always cleaning up after the spills.