sandburg030408.pngFacebook has been looking for a new #2 to run its burgeoning operations, following the departure of Owen Van Natta (our coverage). Today, the company has announced that it has hired Sheryl Sandberg, the outgoing vice president of global online sales and operations at Google, to be its new chief operating officer.

Sandberg is a long-time and well-respected leader at Google. She joined the company in 2001 and oversaw the development of its extremely profitable AdWords and AdSense operations.

Now, she’s joining ex-Googlers Gideon Yu, now Facebook’s chief financial officer (our coverage), and Benjamin Ling, who leads Facebook’s developer platform (our coverage), among others.

“She has just about the most relevant industry experience for Facebook, especially since we need to scale our operations and scale them globally,” Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told Kara Swisher. “And we also share the same values.”

Sandberg, the first female executive at Facebook, starts her new job on March 24th, Her responsibilities will include managing sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy, privacy and communications.