Google+ Head Vic Gundotra Steps Down

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 25, 2014

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Vic Gundotra, the Google executive who heads the social Google+, is leaving the company. He had been with the company for 8 years, and since 2011 overseeing the launch of the Google+ social network. David Besbris, a VP of engineering in the Google+ division, will reportedly replace Gundotra, according to a source.

Gundotra’s departure was kept a secret for the last few days before Re/Code first broke the news. While he did not give a reason for his exit or say where he was going, Gundotra related a story about a sudden death in his extended family which made him rethink life’s priorities. “We pour our heart and soul into our work and it becomes something we love and cherish. But even the challenges we work on today will one day become “and thens” as we move on to the next,” he says.

In the fast-growing social networking market, while Google+, was created to catch up with Facebook and Twitter, it struggled to match the popularity of its rivals. Gundotra however claims that since October 2013, over 300 million users visit the Google+ web page every month.

Gundotra’s exit is the latest change to Google’s senior leadership. Last year Android operating system boss Andy Rubin moves out, and in February Salar Kamangar, head of Google’s YouTube video website, was succeeded by longtime Google ad executive Susan Wojcicki. Google Chief Executive Larry Page said Gundotra’s efforts in building the company’s social networking service was commendable. “There are few people with the courage and ability to start something like that,” Page wrote in a post on his Google+ profile page on Thursday, noting that the company would continue building new features for Google+.

(Also read: Google+ Is Walking Dead)

Gundotra writes in an email, “I have been incredibly fortunate to work with the amazing people of Google. I don’t believe there is a more talented and passionate collection of people anywhere else.

He contunies, “I’m overwhelmed when I think about the leadership of +Larry Page and what he empowered me to do while at Google. From starting Google I/O, to being responsible for all mobile applications, to creating Google+, none of this would have happened without Larry’s encouragement and support.

But, now is the time for a new journey and I am excited about what’s next. But this isn’t the day to talk about that. This is a day to celebrate the past 8 years. To cry. And smile. And to look forward to the journey yet to come,” states Gundotra.