Google Loses Key Online Advertising Exec To Greylock Partners

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Sridhar Ramaswamy, the executive in charge of Google’s online advertising business, is leaving the company to take on a new role at Greylock Partners, the venture capitalist.

The Wall Street Journal, citing a Greylock Partners blog post and a Google spokeswoman, reported Ramaswamy is being replaced by Prabhakar Raghavan, who most recently was in charge of Google’s productivity apps such as Google Docs, Drive and Gmail. According to the Wall Street Journal, Raghavan is an internet veteran. Ramaswamy’s departure is a rare shakeup at the internet company, noted the paper. Ramaswamy had been with Google since 2003 when Google’s ad business was bringing in less than $1.5 billion in revenue. He was credited with helping Google grow that business to where it is today, with the company ending 2017 with $95 billion in ad revenue, reported the paper.  “I’ve worked with Prabhakar over many years now and can think of no better person to lead our monetization efforts,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in an emailed statement to the Wall Street Journal. “He is the right person to succeed Sridhar, whose contributions over the past 15 years have helped grow Google into the company it is today.”

With ad growth slowing, Google has been looking to focus more on different businesses for new streams of revenue. The company is focused, for example, on its cloud computing services and its Google Home smart speakers.

Under Ragavan’s charge, he is tasked with bringing new life into the ad business that is facing more competition and scrutiny over the practice of using user data to target the ads. In June the Washington Attorney General announced it was suing Facebook and Google over political ads that ran in the state. According to reports at the time, both sites are accused of receiving millions for political advertising purposes in the state, but they never published related information, such as the advertiser’s address. Washington law requires that “political campaign and lobbying contributions and expenditures be fully disclosed to the public and that secrecy is to be avoided.”