In a massive executive reshuffle, Google's core business just found its new MVP. But it also comes as search and ads face a building antitrust storm (GOOG, GOOGL)
Prabhakar Raghavan has been elevated to lead Google's search business as part of a major company shakeup announced this week. He will also oversee Google ads, Assistant, commerce and payments, as well as Google's Geo business. It makes Raghavan an incredibly important figure in Google's new org chart, which is being streamlined under Sundar Pichai. In the same week as these changes were announced, so was news that antitrust regulators are closing in on Google's ad and search business. Do you work at Google? Contact this reporter securely using encrypted messaging app Signal (+1 628-228-1836) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
It was all change at Google this week, with several long-term executives getting shuffled into new roles in the biggest org shake-up since Sundar Pichai took the reins as both Alphabet and Google's CEO. One mover is Jen Fitzpatrick, previously the head of Google's Maps business, who is transitioning to lead Google's core engineering team of 8,000 employees. But the biggest announcement was that Prabhakar Raghavan will step up to lead the entire Search and Assistant division. He replaces veteran Ben Gomes, who will take a new role focused on Google's work in the education space, although Search Engine Land reports that he will remain a technical advisor on search. At the same time, Jerry Dischler just became the new head of Google's ads organization and will also report to Raghavan, a Google spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider. For Raghavan, it means he's now in the position of overseeing all of Google's search, ads, Geo, and commerce and payments — and he just became even more of a critical player in the company org chart. Prabhakar was previously leading Google's ads and commerce team, and before that was in charge of G Suite in Google Cloud, so his move to leading search has caused a bit of head-scratching to outsiders looking in. But Raghavan has a long career history in search stretching back to his days at IBM and Yahoo, as Pichai pointed out in a memo to employees this week, not to mention that he published more than one major text on the subject. The shakeup means that Google's search and advertising products are now led by one person. When cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page stepped down from the company in 2019 they talked about wanting to "simplify" the management structure at Google, and this week Sundar Pichai took another step to doing just that. "While there are many separate teams working on different parts of the user journey, from the user's perspective, it's just Google helping," wrote Pichai in a note to employees this week. "I want every user experience to feel like this and I've been thinking about how we can best achieve it. So, when Ben and Jen — who both just celebrated their 20th Googleversaries last year — mentioned they were ready for new challenges, I took the opportunity to make some changes across our flagship knowledge products and help them work together more seamlessly." Putting search and ads under one chief could feasibly help Google better monetize its core moneymaking business, but it also comes at a time where both these areas are facing a potentially huge antitrust storm. The Justice Department and states are reportedly gearing up to bring antitrust cases against Google as soon as this summer, and this week, Bloomberg reported that Google's search business is being probed by antitrust investigators. Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of search engine DuckDuckGo, told the publication that he had spoken to state and federal regulators who have asked how Google should give consumers alternatives to its own search engine on Android and in Chrome browsers, Bloomberg said. As Covid-19 continues to attack Google's ad business and antitrust regulators close in, Raghavan is now front of center of it all, and might have just become the company's new MVP.SEE ALSO: Google shakes up its Search and Maps leadership as company veterans move into new roles Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What makes 'Parasite' so shocking is the twist that happens in a 10-minute sequence
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