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YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki steps down

YouTube Chief Executive Susan Wojcicki is stepping down after a long tenure leading the Google-owned online video giant, the company said Thursday.

“After nearly 25 years here, I’ve decided to step back from my role as the head of YouTube and start a new chapter focused on my family, health, and personal projects I’m passionate about,” Wojcicki wrote in a letter published online and sent to employees.

Neal Mohan, currently YouTube’s chief product officer, will be the new head of YouTube, Wojcicki said.

The change is effective immediately, the company said.

YouTube representatives declined to elaborate on what prompted Wojcicki’s departure, how long it’s been brewing or what Wojcicki’s continued involvement with the company will be.

Wojcicki, one of the tech industry’s most prominent female executives, was CEO during YouTube’s dramatic transition from an amateur video uploading site to a massive media and advertising powerhouse. Today, YouTube has more than 2 billion monthly users, with 1 billion hours of video watched every day by people around the world, according to the company.

“She saw the potential for YouTube to be more than just a video platform but a place where social networks, content creation and digital ads could come together,” said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Palo Alto-based Constellation Research.

But Wojcicki’s departure also comes at a moment of truth for both Google — which laid off 12,000 people last month, including some at YouTube — and the wider tech ecosystem, which is floundering through a wave of layoffs and cost-cutting measures as it comes down from a pandemic high and navigates a tough macroeconomic landscape.

And while YouTube remains a leading video platform, it’s facing robust competition from digital media companies including TikTok and Twitch, which court a youthful and enthusiastic online audience and base of creators.

“As viewing becomes more targeted and fragmented, you will see platforms like Discord or Twitch continue to chip at YouTube revenues,” Wang said. LA Times

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