YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said Thursday that she’s stepping down. Chief product officer Neal Mohan will take the lead as the SVP and new head of YouTube.
“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.
Wojcicki, 54, joined YouTube as the CEO in 2014.
She will continue working with YouTube teams, coaching members and meeting with creators, she added.
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.
“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, who she let work out of her Menlo Park, California home upon founding Google. Page and Brin rented the garage space for $1,700 a month from her. 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 fourteen years. In recent years, YouTube has expanded its physical footprint in areas like New York and near its headquarters in San Bruno, California.
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, the company has said.
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 it 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.
Wojcicki’s blog post 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 popularity in 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.