LOS ANGELES, United States - Mark Zuckerberg's presence at the helm of Facebook parent Meta for "many, many years" would be perfectly natural, his global affairs director has told AFP, even as the founders of many tech companies hand off to fresh blood.
Succession at the mega company has been in the headlines in recent weeks with the announcement of the departure of Sheryl Sandberg after 14 years as the firm's number two.
But while the founders of companies like Amazon, Twitter and Google have all moved on, Zuckerberg has shown no sign of giving up the reins -- despite raging criticism over privacy scandals and the rampant spread of misinformation across Facebook.
Now as Meta rolls out its plans for the metaverse -- the immersive virtual world that it considers the future of the internet -- there's no reason for the 38-year-old to go anywhere anytime soon, said Nick Clegg, the company's director of global affairs.
"It's a multi-year project. It would make sense to me that Mark Zuckerberg would want to continue, to build this new chapter of the company, and that's going to last for many years, many years," Clegg told AFP on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.
"He is the founder of the company, of Meta, but he is also the architect of the new chapter, of this construction, of these augmented reality and virtual reality technologies."
Facebook bought virtual reality headset maker Oculus in 2014 and launched a social VR platform.
The technology has taken off in the gaming industry, and become popular among players of Fortnite and Roblox.
But Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister, said the metaverse promised great opportunities in the fields of education and medicine, as well as entertainment.
For example, he said, teachers can take their students on a virtual trip through ancient Greece, and medics can learn sophisticated surgical techniques.
And, he said, as hardware improves, the need for specialist equipment will diminish.
"In years to come, people will be able to access these new technologies through their phones," he said.
"We are exploring how we can increase access to everyone and not just people who can afford the new and latest hardware."