Talking Numbers

Is Facebook about to face a brain drain?

Is Facebook about to face a brain drain?

According to the New York Post (for what that's worth), Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is in contention to take on Disney CEO Bob Iger's position when he retires in 2016.

Sandberg, once Chief of Staff to Treasury Secretary Larry Summers when she was just 27, is credited with helping to turn Facebook into a profitable company. And, she's also one of the company's largest shareholders, owning $695 million in Facebook shares in what's estimated to be her $1 billion portfolio.

CNBC contributor Zachary Karabell, Head of Global Strategy at Envestnet and President of RiverTwice Research, believes Sandberg may not be a permanent fixture at Facebook but that shouldn't cause worry for long-term investors.

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"Sheryl Sandberg is a unique number two," says Karabell. "She has almost as much prominence in the world as does Zuckerberg who's the CEO."

However, Karabell doesn't see Sandberg spending the rest of her life at Facebook. "You've got to assume that at some point Sheryl Sandberg is going to move to the next thing in her own career," says Karabell. "So if you're owning Facebook now with the assumption that she's going to be there in five years, you're going to be wrong."

Karabell believes the long-term outlook for Facebook isn't dependent on Sandberg but on the culture she has put in place.

"There are a lot of highly capable dynamic people there and have been recruited there by her as well," says Karabell.

(See: CNBC's Media Money)

Talking Numbers contributor Richard Ross, Global Technical Strategist at Auerbach Grayson, believes Facebook's stock's future – at least in the short-term – looks promising.

"Regardless of how you feel about the company or the potential management changes," says Ross, "the fact is that Facebook is a very strong stock in very strong sector in a very strong market right now."

Ross sees the stock as moving in a well-defined upward-sloping trend channel since July 2013. As well, there are two "price gaps" where on day's high is lower than the following day's low. That's considered a bullish indicator by technicians who expect a third such gap to come eventually taking the stock even higher.

Yet Ross cautions that Facebook has a lot of bullish fans on Wall Street – perhaps too many.
"We now have 83% of Wall Street analysts with a 'buy' on the stock," says Ross. "You didn't have quite so many down around $20 near the lows."

Short-term traders may yet profit but longer-term investors may not be rewarded down the road, according to Ross.

"It's a classically bullish chart with a lot of momentum but I think we're getting late in the game here," says Ross. "At $100 billion market cap, I don't know that you're chasing Facebook here for the longer-term, but you might want to trade it for a little more upside here in the shorter-term."

To see the full discussion on Facebook with Karabell on the fundamentals and Ross on the technicals, watch the video above.

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