YouTube Chief Executive Officer Susan Wojcicki is stepping down from the role after nine years running the Google video division, handing the reins to Neal Mohan.
Wojcicki said in a blog post that she planned to "start a new chapter" focused on her family, health and personal projects. She'll also take an advisory role, working across Google and parent Alphabet Inc.
Google's first landlord
Although she became one of the most respected female executives in the male-dominated tech industry, Wojcicki will also be remembered as Google's first landlord.
Shortly after Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin incorporated their search engine into a business in 1998, Wojcicki rented the garage of her Menlo Park, California, home to them for $1,700 a month.
Page and Brin — both 25 at the time — continued to refine their search engine in Wojcicki's garage for five months before moving Google into a more formal office and later persuaded their former landlord to come work for their company.
“It would be one of the best decisions of my life," Wojcicki wrote in the announcement of her departure.
In 2006, Google bought Wojcicki's home to serve as a monument to the roots of a company now valued at $1.2 trillion. During Wojcicki’s career at Google, Brin became her brother-in-law when he married her sister, Anne, in 2007. Brin and Anne Wojcicki divorced in 2015.
YouTube's challenging times
Wojcicki's departure comes at a time when YouTube is facing one of its most challenging periods since Google bought what was then a quirky video site facing widespread complaints about copyright infringement in 2006 for an announced price of $1.65 billion. The all-stock deal was valued at $1.76 billion by the time the transaction closed.
Although Google was initially derided for paying so much for a video service whose future appeared to be in doubt, it turned out to be a bargain. Besides becoming a cultural phenomenon that attracts billions of viewers, YouTube also has become a financial success with ad revenue totaling $29 billion last year. That was up from annual ad revenue of $8 billion in 2017 when Google's corporate parent, Alphabet Inc., began to disclose YouTube's financial revenue.
But YouTube's ad revenue during the final six months of last year dropped 5% from the previous year — the first extended downturn that the video service has shown since Alphabet peeled back its financial curtain. Analysts are worried the slump will continue this year, one of the reasons Alphabet's stock price has fallen 11% since it released its most recent quarterly report two weeks ago.