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FutureStarrWhy Former YouTube CEO is Giving Away Majority of Her $750 Million Fortune
Susan Wojcicki stands out as one of only a handful of female tech leaders. With YouTube taking over its leadership from Neal Mohan, who will now step in as CEO. Under her tenure, the site expanded from being an eccentric internet culture phenomenon into an annual advertising revenue generator worth $29.2 billion. Why She’s Giving Away the Majority of Her $750 Million Fortune Susan Wojcicki became CEO of YouTube in 2014 after 25 years at Google, starting as its 16th employee and performing many different roles such as marketing, co-creating Google Image Search, leading its first Video and Book search, helping develop AdSense early on, and helping bring YouTube into existence. She employs a steady, measured approach that fits well into her job at the tech giant - which involves setting standards and overseeing content on one of the world's most popular online video platforms. Such skills could prove particularly helpful as digital space continues to bring out new forms of horror, stupidity and disgust that sometimes manifest themselves into real life situations. As she announced her departure, she thanked everyone involved for eight incredible years of product and technology innovation, huge opportunities, and an indefatigable disregard for impossible - she will still serve Alphabet, which owns YouTube, in an advisory capacity. Neal Mohan has been running YouTube's products since 2015, so his transition will be seamless. He will oversee every aspect of YouTube from Kids to Music as well as user safety and design - as well as being responsible for ad sales which means he may have extensive contact with advertisers as he takes on one of YouTube's primary challenges in maintaining its income stream. As with other Alphabet companies, YouTube does not publicly release its financial results, leaving investors guessing as they watch data point leak out over time and do their research on data points in small doses - until their quarterly earnings report arrives and investors see just how the company is progressing. 1. She’s Afraid of Leaving a Legacy As people near their end of lives, they begin considering what legacy they want to leave. Some want to be remembered for their accomplishments or simply ensure their loved ones will be taken care of after they pass. Unfortunately, however, many don't have an efficient plan in place on how they will use their remaining wealth or ensure the wellbeing of those they leave behind after death. Susan Wojcicki made headlines this year after becoming one of the youngest billionaires ever, when she reached $1 billion. When recognizing this success, she used some of her fortune to invest in startups led by women and minorities; as well as giving away part of it to fight opioid abuse that has devastated so many American families. Wojcicki will take some time off, yet still plan to help YouTube flourish through an advisory role at Google and Alphabet that provides "counsel and guidance." YouTube has had an active year, juggling accusations of misinformation and hate speech against it while its growth was disrupted by TikTok. Wojcicki remains confident in YouTube's bright future despite all of its controversy, hoping that new monetization tools and an expanded partnership program can assist creators with finding success on its platform. She also plans on increasing investments into creating and producing new content. 2. She’s Concerned About Her Health Susan Wojcicki is one of the most prominent women in Silicon Valley and one of the co-founders of YouTube at 54. Over her 25-year tenure with Google she helped build this massive video streaming service and is widely seen as one of its key architects. As one of Google's first 16 employees, she joined its founders in their garage to build out its ad business and analytics products. From there she went on to manage marketing, lead video search, lead book search and create early parts of AdSense product. Wojcicki made her mark at YouTube and is leaving it in an excellent position. Since 2014 when she took over as CEO, its daily users have more than doubled and its ad revenues made up over 10% of Alphabet's total sales last quarter. YouTube has had its fair share of challenges over time, such as weak child privacy policies and criticism regarding how it handles misinformation and hate speech, yet Wojcicki has taken several key steps to position YouTube for success. She improved YouTube's monetization tools to better compete with TikTok while developing new offerings such as music streaming and YouTube TV. However, she recently decided to step down as CEO in order to focus on her health and spend more time with family. While she will still serve on the board and advise Google CEO Sundar Pichai in an advisory capacity. YouTube CPO Neal Mohan will assume his new duties. 3. She’s Afraid of Losing Control of the Company Susan Wojcicki has become one of the most visible women in a male-dominated tech industry. When Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin incorporated their search engine business in Susan's garage in Menlo Park, California in 1998, they asked Susan Wojcicki to become employee 16. After joining, Susan developed Google's ad technology and analytics products as well as advocating for its $1.65 billion purchase of YouTube in 2014. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced her exit Thursday just months after becoming a mother for the first time, amid rising pressure from lawmakers for it to improve how it combats election misinformation and other harmful content on its platform. She has decided not to appear publicly during her time as CEO and will be replaced by Neal Mohan, YouTube's chief product officer. Mohan first joined YouTube as Trust and Safety Chief from DoubleClick, an advertising technology company acquired by Google in 2008. Since then he has led its trust and safety initiatives as well as overseen major product launches like Shorts and Music. Still, Google faces an uncertain time as they struggle with digital advertising slowdown and increased competition from Chinese-owned short video service TikTok. Google saw its ad revenue decrease 5% year-on-year during the final half of 2018, marking their first extended decline since their parent Alphabet began disclosing financial results. Mohan remains hopeful for YouTube's future despite these challenges and credits Wojcicki for her "incredible commitment". She "has made an immense contribution and set an incredible example for all of us", said Mohan. 4. She’s Afraid of Leaving a Legacy Susan Wojcicki was widely celebrated when she assumed her position as CEO of YouTube in 2014. At that time, many hailed her as one of the "most powerful women in advertising"; someone who'd successfully increased revenues at Google before taking on YouTube as well. Unfortunately, though, Susan's tenure at YouTube has been marred by scandal and controversy instead. The most notable episode involved a video exposing how pedophiles were using YouTube to exploit children, prompting advertisers such as AT&T and Johnson & Johnson to withdraw their ads from the site. Next came two van attacks in London believed to have been inspired by YouTube content, before finally two more van attacks in London apparently being linked back to YouTube videos. Wojcicki has established herself as one of the most acclaimed female executives in a male-dominated tech industry. She joined Google as employee number 16 back in 1999, working across AdSense, Analytics, Books and Images while advocating for its purchase by Google in 2006. She herself said she was proud to have played her part in making the Internet accessible worldwide; yet as she prepares to leave YouTube behind, questions arose as to whether she would be remembered as an advocate of free speech, or as someone who helped promote hateful ideologies that fuelled hate speech, violence, or even murder. The backlash surrounding her has even complicated some of her personal relationships. Marc Benioff, chairman of Salesforce and YouTube board member who serves on it, recently expressed concerns that social media companies could potentially be as harmful to health as cigarettes and should be regulated accordingly. As such, he and other shareholders urged Alphabet to review its policies and consider creating an independent oversight committee within their company.