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Google acquired Motorola Mobility and put Dennis Woodside, a former lawyer and consultant, in charge of the company.So, who the heck is Dennis Woodside?
He’s an Iron Man triathlete not even Apple CEO Tim Cook could poach, according to a new report by Bloomberg BusinessWeek. When Cook approached Woodside, Google CEO Larry Page offered Woodside some extra responsibility.
He didn’t say what, though, until Google decided to buy Motorola Mobility. Page called Woodside just after and asked him to run the division, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
“I think you’d be great at it,” Page told Woodside, according to BusinessWeek. “Can you let me know by tonight?'”
We spoke with a bunch of people close to him to find out what Woodside is actually like. Here’s what we learned:
- He’s a long-time Googler. He’s been with the company since 2003.
- Woodside was picked to take over Tim Armstrong’s position as head of U.S. sales (particularly AdWords and display ads) after Armstrong left to join AOL. One source said he left that position “after a year or two.” (He was employed in the role for two and a half years.)
- We’ve heard he’s close to Nikesh Arora, a senior vice president and Google’s chief business officer. One source said he was “well-liked” by Arora. He’s worked with Arora for “about a decade” and shares ambition with him. That’s good for your career prospects in Google these days, one source said. (Arora has been employed at Google for 7 years).
- He’s definitely an analytics guy—as most sales people are in Google—according to several sources familiar with Woodside. Sales leads like Woodside have to deliver presentations that are “mind-numbingly detailed,” which makes them naturally analytical, another source said.
- Before Google, according to LinkedIn, Woodside worked at consulting firm McKinsey.
- Before that, he was an M&A lawyer for Munger, Tolles & Olson.
- One source said he’s “not charismatic” and has “poor leadership skills.”
Woodside, who doesn’t have a lot of experience building hardware or software, has also cleaned house at Motorola, according to the Bloomberg BusinessWeek report.
He brought in former Kindle supply guru Mark Randall to run Motorola’s supply chain. Gary Briggs, the man who brought Chrome to the public, will run marketing for Motorola. Vanessa Wittman, former CFO of Marsh & McLennan, is now Motorola’s CFO.
Motorola SVP in charge of hardware development Iqbal Arshad and designer Jim Wicks are sticking around.
Sanjay Jha, former CEO, and a lot of his senior executives are getting the boot, according to the Bloomberg BusinessWeek report.