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YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki is stepping down

She's 'starting a new chapter' to focus on her family, health and passion projects.

Stephen Lam / reuters

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has announced she's stepping down from the helm of the streaming video service. Wojcicki, who joined Alphabet nearly 25 years ago, said she's starting "a new chapter focused on my family, health and personal projects I'm passionate about."

Wojcicki has been involved with Google practically since the beginning. The company's founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, set up office in her parents' garage soon after they incorporated Google in 1998. Wojcicki became Google's first marketing manager the following year.

Among other things, she played a role in the earliest Google Doodles, co-created Google Image Search and was the first product manager of AdSense (one of Google's key advertising programs). In 2006, she encouraged Google to buy YouTube, which debuted a year earlier. Eight years later, Wojcicki took over YouTube and became one of the few women to run a major tech company.

During Wojcicki's tenure, YouTube became an increasingly important part of Google and Alphabet. The platform's ad revenue alone accounted for over 10 percent of the company's total revenue last quarter. Wojcicki's run as YouTube CEO hasn't all been smooth sailing, of course. The platform has long struggled with moderation issues, including around hate speech and misinformation. For her part, Wojcicki made it a point to listen to YouTube creators and users, and address their concerns directly.

In her farewell letter, Wojcicki said Neal Mohan, her de-facto deputy, is taking over as the new chief of YouTube. Mohan arrived at the company when Google bought ad company DoubleClick in 2007. He went on to become YouTube's Chief Product Officer in 2015 and helped to launch YouTube TV, YouTube Music, Premium and Shorts. Mohan also led the service's trust and safety team.

Intriguingly, Wojcicki said Mohan will be senior vice-president and head of YouTube, rather than CEO. "With all we’re doing across Shorts, streaming and subscriptions, together with the promises of AI, YouTube’s most exciting opportunities are ahead, and Neal is the right person to lead us," Wojcicki wrote.

She won't be leaving YouTube immediately. "In the short term, I plan to support Neal and help with the transition, which will include continuing to work with some YouTube teams, coaching team members, and meeting with creators," she wrote. Wojcicki will still be involved with Google and Alphabet moving forward, as she'll serve as an advisor. "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 noted.