The YouTube CEO announced that she would step down and be replaced by Neal Mohan, the current Chief Product Officer.
Finally, the far-left activist and ringleader of Google’s censorship of its video platform, Susan Wojcicki, resigned as CEO of YouTube.
The CEO will leave her position after nine years at the helm of the world’s largest online video platform, having led its explosive growth from 2014 to date.
However, she had also been embroiled in controversy over the censorship of voices opposed to the Democratic Party and the left in general.
During his tenure, YouTube became a key leg of the business of Google, which bought the platform in 2006.
In 2022, YouTube generated US$29.2 billion in advertising sales, representing more than 10% of the total revenue of Alphabet, the holding company that houses all of Google’s subsidiaries.
However, many believe that YouTube’s growth was despite Wojcicki’s decisions, not because of them.
The history and literature graduate joined the company after renting his garage in Silicon Valley in 1998 from Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
After losing her job at Intel that same year, she joined Page and Brin’s venture as the company’s sixteenth employee.
She was instrumental in developing Google AdSense, the video and content monetization service, which he later successfully implemented on YouTube.
Wojcicki was appointed in 2003 to run the company’s video service that was trying to compete with YouTube but argued that Google should buy the site instead.
Between 2006 and 2014, the company was run first by Chad Hurley until 2010 and then by Salar Kamangar, the latter of who many identify as responsible for creating the model for the video platform that has become so famous today.
Since she arrived at the company’s helm in 2014, Wojcicki has made virtually no changes to YouTube’s business model.
Still, she did push for a new code of ethics and content moderation, which became highly controversial around the 2016 election when she publicly declared her support for Hillary Clinton and said that then-candidate Donald Trump was a “threat to democracy.”
Amid these sayings, YouTube began actively censoring any account that discussed issues related to immigration, carrying firearms, or referenced the health problems displayed by the then-Democrat Party candidate.
On Sep. 11, 2016, a video emerged showing Hillary Clinton having a seizure as she was removed from the memorial event for the World Trade Center attack in New York.
Hundreds of thousands of accounts showing this video filmed by a passerby were removed from YouTube.
From then on, Wojcicki’s decision to give the company a political profile would forever mark fate.
Since then, several alternative sites have emerged to compete with YouTube, offering a censorship-free platform with the same successful business model that Wojcicki’s predecessor devised.
The best-known is Rumble, which has a better algorithm for recommending videos and is growing even faster than YouTube did during its launch.
Wojcicki, 54, explained that the decision was made to focus on “family, health and personal projects that I am passionate about,” so it would appear that he is retiring from business life.
A strange decision for the director, who had recently been talking about how content moderation on YouTube “literally saves lives.”
YouTube’s chief product officer (CPO), Neal Mohan, will replace Wojcicki as the company’s top man.
Mohan has a more technical profile and has never spoken publicly about his political ideology, a rarity among Google executives.
He will have to face the difficult challenge of not only depoliticizing the platform if he does not want to continue losing market share to other competitors but also that among his first objectives will be to promote the YouTube Shorts platform, with which the video blogging company intends to compete with Tik Tok in short videos.
This venture, the only one Wojcicki had to design from start to finish in her tenure, has proved deadly for YouTube and a real money drain.
In the fourth quarter of 2022, thanks to the low revenue from Shorts, YouTube reported only US$7.96 billion in advertising revenue, falling short of market expectations and registering an 8% drop from the previous year.
WHO IS NEAL MOHAN?
Mohan was born in India in 1973 and grew up in Hyderabad.
He moved to the United States to attend Stanford University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.
After graduation, he worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company before joining DoubleClick, an online advertising company acquired by Google in 2007.
Mohan’s career at Google began in earnest when he was named Vice President of Product Management for Display Advertising in 2008.
In this role, he oversaw the development of AdSense and AdWords, two of the most powerful advertising platforms on the internet.
He also played a crucial role in developing YouTube, which Google acquired in 2006.
Today, Mohan is the Chief Product Officer at YouTube and oversees the platform’s product and engineering teams.