April 05, 2011

Google Product Head Jonathan Rosenberg Resigns on Day One of CEO's New Regime


Larry Page's first day as Google's new CEO did not go as quietly as most people assumed. Just hours after regaining his role as the search engine giant's chief executive, Page announced that Google's Senior VP of Product Management, Jonathan Rosenberg, has resigned.

The Mercury News, which first broke the story, reported on Monday that Page had asked the top brass at Google to make commitments to stay on board for the long haul. Rosenberg told the news source that he was unable to make that commitment because he had plans to move on from the company when his high school-aged daughter left for college in two years.

Given the circumstances, Rosenberg and Page decided it was best to make the move earlier. Rosenberg will stay on at Google for the next few months and then will begin contributing as a consultant after taking the summer off. The Mercury News also reported that he will co-author a book with departing CEO Eric Schmidt on Google's management culture.

As the head of design, creation and improvement of all of Google’s products, Rosenberg was known as one of the most powerful executives at the California tech firm. He is largely credited with building the teams that were responsible for the creation the Google Chrome browser and the Android operating system.

“Jonathan is phenomenal – hugely energetic, strategic, a man of real principle who always puts the user first,” Page, said in a statement. “He’s been crucial to our success over the last nine years.”

While the discourse surrounding Rosenberg's pending departure is nothing but cheery, some analysts have speculated whether it was in Page's best interest to keep him on. Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson suggested that Rosenberg's role under Page could have been redundant due to the fact that the new CEO prefers to work with product managers directly. Furthermore, Page is looking to return Google to its more spirited, startup-focused mentality.

"It's not clear whether he was now perceived to be less necessary in some new, flatter organization they are creating, or whether he didn't like the direction the new leadership was going -- but I'm sure there was something more going on than meets the eye," Greg Sterling, an editor with SearchEngineLand.com, told the Mercury News.

Rosenberg joined Google in 2002 after stints with Apple and Excite@Home.


Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Janice McDuffee




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