Correction: Grady runs Google’s AdWords operation in Ann Arbor. David Fischer runs Google’s overall AdWords operation.
Earlier: Google (GOOG) turns in revenues of $21 billion a year mainly because of its automated search advertising business. Facebook just poached the guy who runs those operations.
Google’s AdWords operations chief Grady Burnett will quit the company and move from Ann Arbor, Mich., to join Facebook in Palo Alto, where he will lead the startup’s growing self-service advertising unit. Grady is also a DoubleClick veteran.
Facebook just took $200 million in funding at a $10 billion valuation. Sources close to the company say it will crack $400 million in revenue this year. Other reports put the figure at $500 million. The company says it will be cash-flow posiive by the end of the year.
We think Facebook could get to profitability in a hurry if it beefed up its ad sales operations. A well-connected Valley source tells us Facebook advertisers are finally beginning to see decent return on their spend. So today’s hire is a big step toward that goal.
Grady will report to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, herself a veteran of Google’s self-service advertising business, called Online Sales and Operations (OSO) inside the company. It’s a “functionally new position,” a Facebook spokesperson told Crain’s Detroit.
Why the move? At this point, Facebook has way more upside than Google, which is going through something of a re-org in its advertising business and many figure is done with its days of 30% year-over-year growth. Also, a source tells us Grady and Sheryl worked together in OSO for years and grew very close. Grady also grew up in the Bay Area, so there’s that draw, too.
“As you might imagine, this was a hard decision for me and my family,” Grady told Crain’s. “We love Michigan, and I thoroughly enjoyed my nearly four years working for Google.”
Veteran Mike Miller will replace Grady at Google’s Ann Arbor location.
Grady is just the latest in a long line of Google execs to quit the company in the past few months. Click here to scroll through the Google Brain Drain →