Google CEO Larry Page reorganized his senior management team April 7, promoting high-level executives to head business lines and report directly to him.
The move is telling considering Jonathan Rosenberg, senior vice president of product management under former CEO Eric Schmidt, stepped down a few days ago. Rosenberg's role, according to sources at the company, was to run interference between product managers and Schmidt.
While Google and Rosenberg said he departed amicably because he couldn't commit to the long-term involvement Page demanded of his managers, Page's latest reorganization underscores how he excised the manager of product management.
Now directly reporting to Page are Andy Rubin, senior vice president of mobile; Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of social; Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Chrome; Salar Kamangar, senior vice president of YouTube and video; Alan Eustace, senior vice president of search; and Susan Wojcicki, senior vice president of ads.
The Los Angeles Times first reported the reorganization. Google spokesperson confirmed for eWEEK but declined to comment on specific details.
"The idea is to empower people, let them take risks and give them more authority over decisions," said a person familiar with Google's thinking, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to the Times.
However, when Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced on the company's fourth-quarter earnings call in January that Page was taking his place, it was implied that Page would streamline accountability and responsibility across Google.
The idea is to return Google to its startup roots, ideally so it can regroup and refocus how to tackle serious challenges, such as how to competently introduce social software tools to Google's broader search and Web services such as Google Apps and YouTube.
Page is super concerned about competing with Facebook in the social sector, sending out this memo to tell employees that 25 percent of their annual bonus will be tied to the success or failure of Google's social strategy in 2011.
Some of Google's more successful units, including Rubin's Android division and Kalamangar's YouTube video-sharing Website, have enjoyed great success running in an autonomous fashion.
Android has piled up 33 percent U.S. market share and is shipping on more than 300,000 handsets a day, not to mention tablets, TVs and other computing gadgets. YouTube, meanwhile, has helped the company enjoy a $2.5 billion run-rate in display ads and is transforming into a broadcast platform.