covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.
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YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, who has led the world’s largest video site for the last nine years, is stepping down from her role. She’ll be replaced by Neal Mohan, her longtime lieutenant.
In a letter sent to YouTube’s employees, Wojcicki said she was leaving in order to “start a new chapter focused on my family, health and personal projects I’m passionate about.”
During her tenure, YouTube became increasingly important to the business for Google, which bought the site in 2006, and Alphabet, the holding company that houses both of them: In 2022, YouTube generated $29.2 billion in ad sales — more than 10 percent of Alphabet’s total revenue.
Wojcicki’s departure also has meaningful symbolism for Google and tech in general. For years, she has been one of the very few women to operate a huge tech business. And she was an integral part of Google’s founding — she famously rented out her Silicon Valley garage to co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998, and joined the company as its 16th employee a year later.
“Susan has a unique place in Google history and has made the most incredible contribution to products used by people everywhere,” Page and Brin said in a statement. “We’re so grateful for all she’s done over the last 25 years.”
Wojcicki started at Google running marketing, helped build its online ad business, and at one point ran the company’s video service that was trying to compete with YouTube. She ended up arguing that Google should buy the site instead.
During her tenure as YouTube’s leader, she made a point of increasing its accessibility to advertisers, while simultaneously trying to wrangle an enormous and unruly group of video creators that powered the site.
That periodically led to criticism from video makers, who said YouTube’s rule changes and moderation decisions made it hard for them to make a living, and outsiders, who said the company wasn’t taking a firm enough hand to discourage hate speech and other unpleasant content. “We managed to upset everybody,” Wojcicki told me in a 2019 interview.
Wojcicki has spent years working closely with Mohan, her successor. The two of them first worked together building Google’s display advertising business, and Mohan has been Wojcicki’s No. 2 at YouTube since 2015.
“Susan has built an exceptional team and has in Neal a successor who is ready to hit the ground running and lead YouTube through its next decade of success,” Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement.
Below is the full text of Wojcicki’s letter to her employees: