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Google Ad Chief Jerry Dischler Steps Down Amid Antitrust Scrutiny

 |  November 30, 2023

Google’s long-serving advertising chief, Jerry Dischler, has announced his departure from the company, mere weeks after his testimony during a landmark antitrust trial.

Dischler, who attained the position of vice president of advertising products in 2020, will be succeeded by Vidhya Srinivasan, a seasoned advertising executive with a background at Amazon and IBM, reported The New York Post.

The announcement was made by Google senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan, who expressed gratitude for Dischler’s contributions to the company’s advertising business over his more than 15 years of service. Raghavan emphasized the pivotal role that advertising plays in enabling millions of businesses to thrive.

Vidhya Srinivasan, the incoming ad chief, was highlighted for her significant contributions to privacy, measurement, artificial intelligence, and search ads during her tenure at Google. Raghavan asserted that her track record of innovation positions her as a natural successor to Dischler.

According to the Post, Dischler’s departure comes on the heels of his controversial testimony during the recent antitrust trial, where he admitted, under questioning from the Justice Department, that Google had quietly increased ad prices within its search results to meet revenue targets. This revelation raised eyebrows, as Dischler acknowledged that advertisers were not typically informed of such pricing changes.

In September, Dischler confirmed previous sworn testimony from 2020, admitting that these pricing adjustments led to increases ranging from 5% to 10% for advertisers on specific search queries. He cautioned against raising prices further, citing the potential risk of advertisers turning to competitors such as TikTok or Meta.

The antitrust trial also referenced a May 2019 email from Dischler expressing concern about Google missing quarterly revenue targets and exploring strategies to avoid negatively impacting its stock price.

A Google spokesperson clarified that Dischler’s decision to step down was personal and unrelated to his appearance at the antitrust trial. However, they did not disclose whether Dischler would be taking on a new role within Google or leaving the company entirely.

Srinivasan, well-regarded for her recent work on Google’s monetization strategy for generative AI features, played a key role in the launch of “Performance Max,” an AI tool designed to enhance ad campaign performance according to client objectives.

The conclusion of the Google search antitrust trial occurred earlier this month after a 10-week run. Judge Amit Mehta is expected to deliver a ruling on whether Google violated antitrust laws by mid-2024.
Source: NY Post