Thursday, March 30, 2023
HomeBusinessSusan Wojcicki, YouTube’s long-serving C.E.O., has announced that she will step down

Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s long-serving C.E.O., has announced that she will step down

She is one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent women. She was an early Google employee, and a key member the founders’ inner circle.

YouTube’s chief executive Susan Wojcicki announced on Thursday that she would be stepping down from her role as the company’s most popular video site.

Ms. Wojcicki’s departure marks an end to YouTube’s pioneering days and Google as its parent company. It also adds to a growing list of women who have resigned from senior positions at Silicon Valley companies in recent decades.

Google was headquartered for some time in Ms. Wojcicki’s garage during its early days. She was a close friend of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and became one of the company’s first employees. Over the next two decades, she rose up the ranks of its executive ranks. Ms. Wojcicki (54), helped transform YouTube into one of the largest social media platforms in the world after Google bought it.

“Today, after almost 25 years here, and I’ve decided that I will step back as the head YouTube and begin a new chapter focused upon my family, my health, and personal projects, I’m passionately about,” Ms. Wojcicki wrote to employees in a letter, which was posted on YouTube’s official website.

Neal Mohan will assume the role of chief executive.

In a joint statement, Mr. Page and Mr. Brin jointly stated that Susan has a special place in Google’s history and has made an incredible contribution to the products used by people around the world. We are so grateful for everything she has done in the past 25 years.

Andrea Faville, a YouTube spokesperson, declined to comment about Ms. Wojcicki’s health. In recent months, however, Ms. Wojcicki has been reducing her public appearances. She missed a “Made on YouTube” event in September.

Ms. Wojcicki will continue to be an advisor at Alphabet (Google’s parent company). Sundar Pichai (Alphabet’s chief executive) asked Ms. Wojcicki to advise businesses throughout the company’s portfolio during a time when artificial Intelligence was poised for many of its products to be transformed.

“Susan played an important role in Google’s history, and her leadership over the years opened up completely new chapters for Google,” Mr. Pichai stated in a statement. He said that the platform had “exciting opportunities”.

Further, Ms. Wojcicki’s departure from YouTube’s top position further reduces the number of women leading large tech companies. Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Meta, resigned her position last year. Meg Whitman, who was chief operating officer at Meta and Hewlett-Packard’s successor company; Ginni Rometty from IBM; Marissa Mayer from Yahoo were also senior executives who resigned in recent years. Although Safra Catz is still the chief executive at Oracle, a maker and distributor of business software, Jayshree Ulal runs Arista Networks, while Lisa Su heads the chip manufacturer AMD. The industry has also lost a lot of women leaders who broke down barriers. There are few female successors.

Laura Kray, University of California, Berkeley professor of leadership, stated in an interview that “it’s a changing of guard”. It is disturbing that men are replacing these highly-successful women leaders.

Professor Kray, who is the Center for Equity, Gender and Leadership’s faculty director, said that women’s careers within the tech industry were often shorter than those of men. Furthermore, the loss of strong female leaders has reduced the number of role models for young women in tech.

Despite tech companies emphasizing the importance of diverse leadership in recent times, the gender gap is not limited to large companies. According to Silicon Valley Bank, more than half of American start ups were lacking women leaders in 2020.

Diane Greene, former chief executive at Google Cloud, stated that Ms. Wojcicki was synonymous to Google and had helped make it a juggernaut.

“She’s visionary, she has done phenomenal execution, and she’s been extraordinarily supportive of others women,” Ms. Greene, the current chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said in an interview.

Ms. Greene co-founded and led VMware once before. She said that she is optimistic that a new generation, made up of scientists and academics, will lead the tech industry over the next few years.

Mr. Mohan joined Google in 2007 from DoubleClick, an ad technology company that was acquired by Google in 2007. He rose to become a senior vice-president of video and display ads. In 2015, he was appointed YouTube’s chief product officers. He has been responsible for ensuring safety and trust, as well as the launch of major products such YouTube Music and Shorts.

YouTube is being inherited by Mr. Mohan during a difficult period. YouTube is facing a slowdown of digital advertising, which has slowed its growth. Additionally, it faces increased competition from TikTok (a Chinese-owned short-video service).

YouTube created Shorts, a short-video feature that competes with YouTube. It has attempted to be a destination for premium content by offering cable TV programs and the N.F.L. Sunday Ticket is a package that includes weekly football games. According to Mr. Pichai, Shorts now has an average of 50 billion views per day. In an attempt to attract influencers away, the service is now running ads and sharing revenue on the platform with creators.

YouTube recently lost several well-known executives. Robert Kyncl was the chief business officer of YouTube before he left at the beginning of the year to become chief executive of Warner Music Group. Martin Kon, YouTube’s business finance officer, also left for the A.I. start-up Cohere.

“I have never met a C.E.O. in my entire career.” “She was like Susan,” Mr. Kon, now Cohere’s chief operating officer and president, stated in an interview. “She was able go back and forth between engineers, data scientists, partnerships people, and marketing people about the details of their work.”

YouTube’s largest source of revenue is from ads that are displayed before, during, and alongside its videos. The company’s third quarter ad sales fell 1.9 percent compared to a year ago. Last quarter, revenue dropped 8 percent, to $7.96 billion.

YouTube has been trying to diversify its business for years and has made efforts to increase its content subscriptions. YouTube reported in November that it had reached 80 million subscribers for music and premium services. This is a 30 million increase over the previous year.

YouTube TV is a bundle that offers streaming TV channels and can be used to replace cable TV packages. YouTube TV boasts more than five million subscribers, according to the company. YouTube doesn’t disclose how much revenue it makes from subscriptions.

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