Susan Wojcicki, Googler No. 16 and longtime YouTube CEO, is stepping down

Enlarge / Susan Wojcicki launched one of many firm’s new verticals, YouTube TV, in 2017.

Bloomberg / Getty Photographs

There are huge modifications at YouTube right now as longtime CEO Susan Wojcicki is stepping down from her position and leaving Google. The YouTube Weblog options “A private replace from Susan” that says she’ll be stepping all the way down to “begin a brand new chapter targeted on my household, well being, and private tasks I am enthusiastic about.” YouTube’s new chief shall be Neal Mohan, one in every of Wojcicki’s longtime lieutenants who has labored at Google for 15 years.

Wojcicki is formally Google worker No. 16, and a yr earlier than she was employed, famously rented her mother or father’s storage to Google founders Larry Web page and Sergey Brin, the place they arrange their first workplace. Wojcicki joined Google when it had no income and has been on the firm for 25 years—principally, its whole historical past. Her first position was Google’s first advertising and marketing supervisor in 1999, and in 2003 she turned Google AdSense’s first product supervisor. Wojcicki is credited with the thought to purchase YouTube in 2006 and managed that $1.65 billion acquisition in addition to the $3.1 billion buy of DoubleClick the subsequent yr. By 2014 she was CEO of the world’s largest video website.

Wojcicki gained management of YouTube when it was already a family identify, the No. 3 website on this planet after Google and Fb, and the net’s de facto video website. She oversaw a dramatic growth of the service through YouTube’s pivot to a number of vertical content material apps beginning in 2015, which noticed the launch of the ad-free YouTube Premium, in-house “YouTube Originals” content material, YouTube Music, YouTube Gaming, and YouTube Children. The cable TV substitute service YouTube TV launched in 2017, the Snapchat clone YouTube Tales launched in 2018, and the TikTok clone YouTube Shorts launched in 2021. Final final yr, YouTube set itself as much as be a pillar of the sports activities world with an enormous $2 billion-a-year deal for NFL Sunday Ticket. Immediately the model is principally the content material wing of Google, and we’re all anticipating the subsequent YouTube app to be “YouTube Podcasts.”

Wojcicki’s big wave of product launches weren’t all winners, YouTube Originals, YouTube Gaming, and YouTube Shops are all lifeless. I do not suppose YouTube has ever made a change that was uncontroversial with the consumer base, however the resolution to take away the detest counter in 2021 appears to be a selected sore spot. The positioning’s content material moderation insurance policies are additionally regularly incorrectly enforced and complicated, with creators having little recourse to cope with issues.

Wojcicki is leaving YouTube because it gears up for one in every of its largest battles. For the primary time shortly, YouTube’s dominance of video is being threatened by somebody—China’s TikTok app. The positioning is ultra-popular with younger individuals and ages 4 by means of 18 reportedly spend extra time on TikTok than YouTube. TikTok began as an much more bite-sized model of YouTube, with quick movies and an addictive swipe interface on telephones. Because it has gained traction, the service rapidly expanded to 10-minute video limits, and right now the desktop web site seems like an virtually precise copy of YouTube. Video run occasions may very well be uncapped at any second, and as soon as that occurs, there will not be a lot of a distinction between the 2 core video choices—assuming TikTok would not get banned by the US authorities first.

Wojcicki will stick round for “the quick time period” to assist with the transition, and whereas she ultimately will not have a day-to-day position at Google, Wojcicki says she’s “agreed with Sundar to tackle an advisory position throughout Google and Alphabet.”

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