YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki said Thursday that she is stepping down after nearly a decade as CEO of the world’s most popular online video service.
Wojcicki, one of the most prominent women in Silicon Valley, will shift to an advisory role at Google, YouTube’s parent company, after being with the tech titan since it was a startup in her garage.
“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,” Wojcicki said in a note to employees.
“I’ve worn many hats and done so many things.”
Wojcicki became involved with Google when founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page set up shop in the garage of her home in Silicon Valley in 1998, becoming the company’s first marketing manager a year later.
Brin and Page rented the garage as a base of operations after moving from a dormitory at Stanford University where they were students.
Wojcicki’s sister married Brin, but the couple later divorced.
She is listed as the 16th employee at Google, which is now under the corporate umbrella of Alphabet.
She cited her roles at Google as including helping create image search, leading its first video search, and working on the acquisitions of video-sharing platform YouTube and ad platform DoubleClick.
She spent the past nine years as the boss of YouTube.
“I’ve agreed with Sundar (Pichai) to take on an advisory role across Google and Alphabet,” Wojcicki said.
“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.”
YouTube executive Neal Mohan will become head of the company when Wojcicki leaves later this year, she told employees.
Wojcicki’s time leading YouTube has included handling concerns over child privacy on the platform as well as battling the spread of misinformation, notably during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wojcicki was in charge of YouTube when it launched a streaming television service as viewers increasingly turned to the internet for shows and films.
“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,” Wojcicki said in the note.
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