YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki Stepping Down After Nine Years

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki Stepping Down
PAMELA LITTKY FOR VARIETY

Susan Wojcicki is stepping down as CEO of YouTube after nine years — and 24 years at Google, which she joined as one of its first employees back when it was in start-up mode.

Wojcicki announced her departure in a memo to YouTube staff Thursday. Neal Mohan, currently chief product officer at YouTube, will replace her as SVP and new head of YouTube.

“I’ve decided to step back from my role as the head of YouTube and start a new chapter focused on my family, health, and personal projects I’m passionate about,” she wrote.

Wojcicki will continue to be involved with YouTube and parent company Alphabet. The exec wrote that she agreed with Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google, to take on an advisory role at the internet giant. “This will allow me to call on my different experiences over the years to offer counsel and guidance across Google and the portfolio of Alphabet companies,” she wrote.

Wojcicki joined Google in 1999 as the 16th employee, becoming the search engine’s first marketing exec, and founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin initially ran the company out of her garage in Menlo Park, Calif. She cut the company’s first deals to license search technology and led the initial development of Google’s image search.

In her multiple stints at Google, Wojcicki has overseen product management of AdSense, Google Book Search and Google Video as well as the syndication of the company’s products. Prior to Google, she worked at Intel, Bain & Co. and R.B. Webber & Co.

In February 2014, Wojcicki was named YouTube’s CEO. Google’s appointment of Wojcicki, one of the company’s most senior execs, reflected how important the video platform had become to its advertising business.

Read Wojcicki‘s note to staff:

Hi YouTubers,

Twenty-five years ago I made the decision to join a couple of Stanford graduate students who were building a new search engine. Their names were Larry and Sergey. I saw the potential of what they were building, which was incredibly exciting, and although the company had only a few users and no revenue, I decided to join the team.

It would be one of the best decisions of my life.

Over the years, I’ve worn many hats and done so many things: managed marketing, co-created Google Image Search, led Google’s first Video and Book search, as well as early parts of AdSense’s creation, worked on the YouTube and DoubleClick acquisitions, served as SVP of Ads, and for the last nine years, the CEO of YouTube. I took on each challenge that came my way because it had a mission that benefited so many people’s lives around the world: finding information, telling stories and supporting creators, artists, and small businesses. I’m so proud of everything we’ve achieved. It’s been exhilarating, meaningful, and all-consuming.

Today, after nearly 25 years here, I’ve decided to step back from my role as the head of YouTube and start a new chapter focused on my family, health, and personal projects I’m passionate about.

The time is right for me, and I feel able to do this because we have an incredible leadership team in place at YouTube. When I joined YouTube nine years ago, one of my first priorities was bringing in an incredible leadership team. Neal Mohan was one of those leaders, and he’ll be the SVP and new head of YouTube. I’ve spent nearly 15 years of my career working with Neal, first when he came over to Google with the DoubleClick acquisition in 2007 and as his role grew to become SVP of Display and Video Ads. He became YouTube’s Chief Product Officer in 2015. Since then, he has set up a top-notch product and UX team, played pivotal roles in the launch of some of our biggest products, including YouTube TV, YouTube Music and Premium and Shorts, and has led our Trust and Safety team, ensuring that YouTube lives up to its responsibility as a global platform. He has a wonderful sense for our product, our business, our creator and user communities, and our employees. Neal will be a terrific leader for YouTube.

With all we’re doing across Shorts, streaming, and subscriptions, together with the promises of AI, YouTube’s most exciting opportunities are ahead, and Neal is the right person to lead us.

For all the YouTubers I’ve had the privilege to work with, you have done so much to make this platform better over the years. You created the largest creative economy the world has ever seen, enabled entirely new forms of art and storytelling, and supported millions of creators and artists to reach new audiences — all while investing in responsible growth so that this brilliant community of creators, artists, viewers, and advertisers could not only co-exist but thrive together. Thank you!

As for me, in the short term, I plan to support Neal and help with the transition, which will include continuing to work with some YouTube teams, coaching team members, and meeting with creators. In the longer term, I’ve agreed with Sundar to take on an advisory role across Google and Alphabet. This will allow me to call on my different experiences over the years to offer counsel and guidance across Google and the portfolio of Alphabet companies. It’s an incredibly important time for Google — it reminds me of the early days — incredible product and technology innovation, huge opportunities, and a healthy disregard for the impossible.

And beyond that, I’ll still be around, so I’ll have a chance to thank the thousands of people from all across the company and the world who I’ve worked with and learned from. But for now, I want to thank Sundar for his leadership, support and vision over the years. I also want to thank Larry and Sergey for inviting me on what has truly been the adventure of a lifetime. I always dreamed of working for a company with a mission that could change the world for the better. Thanks to you and your vision, I got the chance to live that dream. It has been an absolute privilege to be a part of it, and I’m excited for what’s next.

Thank you for everything,

Susan

From Variety US

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