Vic Gundotra, the Google executive leading Google+ is out of the company, Kara Swisher and Liz Gannes atRe/code report.
Gundotra was a star at Google. He stood out for being funny, articulate, and combative when speaking publicly.
Google CEO Larry Page confirmed that Gundotra was leaving and praised him by saying, “Vic built Google+ from nothing. There are few people with the courage and ability to start something like that and I am very grateful for all his hard work and passion.”
He joined Google eight years ago, initially leading developer relations. He has been leading Google+, Google’s social network, since it launched in 2011. Prior to joining Google, Gundotra was at Microsoft.
In 2010, Gundotra made a name for himself when he attacked Apple at Google’s I/O developer conference. He stood on stage explaining why Android, an open operating system for handset makers, was better than Apple’s closed iPhone model.
“If Google did not act, we faced a draconian future where one man, one company, one device, one carrier would be our only choice,” said Gundotra to thunderous applause. He paused for a moment, then said, “That’s not a future we want.”
This was when Android was still an underdog, and even somewhat unloved inside Google. People at Google used iPhones at the time. After that speech, Android took off, and Google really pushed the platform. Gundotra’s speech was the best articulation of why Android existed.
Gundotra’s departure from Google is immediate. He explained his reason for leaving on Google+ by saying that he wants to work on something different.
“Now is the time for a new journey. A continuation,” says Gundotra. “I am excited about what’s next. But this isn’t the day to talk about that.”
We assume Gundotra is either going to be a CEO somewhere, or run his own startup.
This is actually pretty rare at Google, lately. Page has done an excellent job of keeping top executives at the company, even when they’re ready for something new. Andy Rubin, who led Android, for instance, is still at Google despite no longer leading Android.
Apparently, Gundotra wanted to leave Google for something new.
Here’s the full post from Gundotra on his departure:
Last month, my wife’s uncle died in a tragic accident in LA when the bicycle he was using to get lunch was hit by a truck. At the memorial service his daughter relayed a very touching story.
She said her dad (who was her best friend) called every day to talk. But instead of opening the call with the customary “How are you” or “What’s going on”, her dad always opened the conversation with “And then?” Her father viewed each conversation as a continuation of the last, and what pained her the most was that there were to be no more “and thens”. I cried.
Since then I’ve thought a lot about how similar this is to our life’s endeavours. We pour our heart and soul into our work and it becomes something we love and cherish. But even the challenges we work on today will one day become “and thens” as we move on to the next.
Today I’m announcing my departure from Google after almost 8 years.
I have been incredibly fortunate to work with the amazing people of Google. I don’t believe there is a more talented and passionate collection of people anywhere else. And I’m overwhelmed when I think about the leadership of
and what he empowered me to do while at Google. From starting Google I/O, to being responsible for all mobile applications, to creating Google+, none of this would have happened without Larry’s encouragement and support.
I’m also forever in debt to the Google+ team. This is a group of people who built social at Google against the scepticism of so many. The growth of active users is staggering, and speaks to the work of this team. But it doesn’t tell you what kind of people they are. They are invincible dreamers. I love them. And I will miss them dearly.
Finally, thank you to all those who I’ve met on Google+. The community here has been so supportive that I don’t even know how to say thank you. You all make Google+. Without you, this social network wouldn’t exist. Your support for Google+, and for me personally is something I will never forget.
But, now is the time for a new journey. A continuation. An “and then”. I am excited about what’s next. But this isn’t the day to talk about that. This is a day to celebrate the past 8 years. To cry. And smile. And to look forward to the journey yet to come.
And here’s the video of Gundotra ripping Apple at I/O: