YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki Steps Down

YouTube © bloomua, Shutterstock 2012

One of the first Google employees, YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki, has confirmed she is stepping down after 25 years

Changing of the old guard at Alphabet after one of Google’s first employees, Susan Wojcicki, has confirmed she is stepping down.

CEO of YouTube Susan Wojcicki announced her decision to step down after 25 years at Google in a blog post, and revealed that she replaced by her deputy Neal Mohan, a senior advertising and product executive who joined Google in 2008.

54 year old Wojcicki is a tech veteran and one of the first Google employees (she is ranked as its 16th employee).

In September 1998 (the same month that Google was incorporated), its co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin set up an office in the garage at the home of Wojcicki’s parents in Menlo Park, California. In 1999 she became Google’s marketing manager.

Wojcicki departure

Wojcicki became the CEO of YouTube in 2014, and in her departure note that was sent to YouTube employees on Thursday, Wojcicki reflected on her time at Google.

“Twenty-five years ago I made the decision to join a couple of Stanford graduate students who were building a new search engine,” wrote Wojcicki. “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.”

Larry Page and Sergey Brin had stepped down from running Google and Alphabet back in December 2019.

“It would be one of the best decisions of my life,” she wrote. “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.”

“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,” she wrote.

“The time is right for me, and I feel able to do this because we have an incredible leadership team in place at YouTube,” she wrote. “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.”

Mohan, a Stanford graduate, was appointed chief product officer at YouTube in 2015. He focused on building YouTube Shorts, Music and subscription offerings in the role.

Wojcicki said that in the short term she will support Neal and help with the transition, but in the longer term, she has agreed with Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai to take on an advisory role across Google and Alphabet.

“But for now, I want to thank Sundar for his leadership, support and vision over the years,” she wrote. “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.”

YouTube revenues

The departure of Susan Wojcicki comes as YouTube’s advertising revenue fell for the second straight quarter.

Earlier this month YouTube advertising revenue came in at $7.96bn (compared to $8.25bn expected).

YouTube is facing intense competition for viewing time from short video providers such as TikTok and Facebook’s Reels, as well as streaming services such as Netflix.

YouTube shorts now has 50 billion daily views, Pichai recently stated.