Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, has announced her intention to step down, paving the way for the company's Chief Product Officer, Neal Mohan, to take over as the new head of YouTube.
During her tenure, she oversaw the company’s rapid expansion to become the largest video platform in the world. YouTube now has more than 2.5 billion monthly active users, and more than 500 hours of content are uploaded to the platform every minute.
“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 said in a blog post.
Wojcicki, 54, who joined YouTube as CEO in 2014, will continue working with YouTube teams, coaching members, and meeting with creators.
Wojcicki said she agreed with Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai to, in the longer term, take on an advisory role across Google and Alphabet. “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,” she wrote in the blog post.
“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 noted. “When I joined YouTube nine years ago, one of my first priorities was bringing in an incredible leadership team.”
Wojcicki has long-held ties to Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, whom she let work out of her Menlo Park, California, home upon founding Google. Page and Brin rented the garage space from her for $1,700 a month. Wojcicki was working in the marketing department at Intel at the time.
In 2006, she advocated for the $1.65 billion acquisition of YouTube.
Wojcicki joined Google in 1999 and oversaw the design and build of Google’s advertising and analytics products for 14 years. In recent years, YouTube has expanded its physical footprint in areas like New York and near its headquarters in San Bruno, California.
The rapid growth became a challenge for the company to contain. Google and YouTube had to pay $170 million in 2019 to settle a case where the video platform allegedly violated children’s privacy laws. Wojcicki also came under fire during the 2020 elections and the COVID-19 pandemic as the platform struggled to contain misinformation and disinformation campaigns.
In the note sent to YouTube employees, Wojcicki said she spent nearly 15 years of her career working with Mohan, the new head of YouTube, “first when he came over to Google with the DoubleClick acquisition in 2007 and as his role grew to become SVP of Display and Video Ads.”
YouTube has faced pressure in recent years amid a rise in the popularity of social media, namely TikTok, which it has been trying to compete with through its short-form video platform, Shorts. YouTube booked $7.96 billion in advertising revenue during the fourth quarter, which fell short of analyst expectations and was down 8% from the year prior.