Facebook's road to riches was paved by people like Mike Schroepfer. By the time he joined the company in the middle of 2008, Schroepfer was already a well-respected technical architect and entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. Armed with a master's degree in computer science from Stanford, he began his career working at various startups in the Palo Alto area. Namely, he was a co-founder and chief architect for CenterRun, which was acquired by Sun Microsystems just three years after its launch. After the takeover, he stayed on and served as CTO for Sun's data center. Additionally, before Facebook, he was the VP of engineering at Mozilla Corporation, where he drove the development of the Firefox internet browser.
Thanks to Schroepfer's vision at Facebook, the tech company has become a giant amongst giants. From 2013 to 2022, he served as the company's chief technology officer (CTO), helping to define its capabilities, structure, and direction. In particular, his tenure was marked by Facebook’s embrace of artificial intelligence and the algorithmic news feed that promotes content to users based on what Facebook believes will interest the user the most. From a financial perspective, the results are undeniable. When Schroepfer joined Facebook, the company boasted a respectable $15 billion market cap. But over the years of his influence, the company went on to have the biggest technology IPO in history, and is currently trading at a valuation just south of $1 trillion.
Thus, many were left scratching their heads when the long-term Facebook executive announced that he was leaving his position in 2022. After 13 years as Facebook's CTO, Schroepfer stepped down from the role, and transitioned into a part-time position as a "Senior Fellow" at the company. Notably, this makes him the first Senior Fellow, a position involving talent recruitment and a small set of projects to oversee.
Schroepfer’s has already turned much of his attention toward new ventures, like philanthropic efforts that address the climate crisis. Some of his favorite charities include Carbon Plan, a nonprofit climate science data organization; Carbon180, a nonprofit working to advance carbon removal policies; and Activate, a nonprofit that helps scientists scale their research into a commercial business to address climate change.
“We want a livable planet for our children and our children’s children," Schroepfer said in a recent interview, where he discussed his roles as a Facebook Senior Fellow and philanthropist. "And, you know, it’s not a foregone conclusion. We have agency here. Let’s start making progress, and we can do it incrementally, and it can be slow, and we can get there. And it can make a better life for people altogether."