18 July-2014, WSJ: Google has lost the man who, for almost a decade, kept advertisers happy and ensured the company made money for shareholders while its legion of engineers created products for users.
Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora is leaving to join Japan-based Internet giant SoftBank as head of Internet and media.
Arora oversaw all of Google’s revenue and customer operations, as well as marketing and partnerships. He joined in 2004, the year of Google’s IPO, and held several positions, including head of global direct sales operations and head of operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Mr. Arora, a graduate of India’s Institute of Technology in Varanasi, recently married Delhi businesswoman Ayesha Thapar in a lavish ceremony in Italy attended by Google executives including Chairman Eric Schmidt.
Arora was seen by some as a divisive figure at Google, partly because he had the difficult job of generating revenue and profit for shareholders in an engineering-centric organization.
“There are a lot of challenges making that job work,” said Scott Kessler, equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ.
“The search business has been a pillar of consistent, healthy growth and I think he probably has a lot to do with that,” Kessler added. “When someone of that kind of authority, experience and success leaves, it’s somewhat of a negative.”
Omid Kordestani, a Google veteran, will lead the company’s business operations “for now,” CEO Larry Page said in a statement on the company’s Google+ social network. Kordestani will be interim chief business officer and a special adviser to Page.
Kordestani was the first business person at Google when the company was a young startup that only employed engineers, Page said.
“There is nothing Omid doesn’t know about Google, our customers and partners, and I know that under his leadership the team will excel,” Page added.
“Everybody is replaceable at companies and I have no reason to doubt Kordestani’s capabilities,” said James Abate, chief investment officer of Centre Asset Management, which owns Google shares. “I feel comfortable where the business is heading.”