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Google exec Vic Gundotra is leaving, Dave Besbris is taking over Google+

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Google just lost one of its most visible and outspoken executives: Vic Gundotra, the VP of Engineering who has been leading Google+ since its inception and also became the face of the company’s developer relations though his appearances at the annual Google I/O conference, is leaving effective immediately, according to a Re/Code report that has been confirmed by Google.

Gundotra also confirmed the move on Google+,vwriting in part:

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 +Larry Page 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.

Gundotra remained vague about what he will do next:

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.

Google CEO Larry Page fittingly took to Google+ to thank Gundotra, saying that he 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 your hard work and passion.

Gundotra joined Google in 2007 from Microsoft, and initially worked on the company’s mobile apps, including Google Maps. He was then tasked to restart Google’s social efforts, an area in which the company had failed with products like Orkut and Buzz while competitors like Facebook (S FB) and Twitter (S TWTR) quickly gained traction.

In addition to his work on Google+, Gundotra hasd also become the ringleader of the company’s annual Google I/O developer conference, where he frequently used that stage to take stabs at competitors like Apple (S AAPL).

Rumors about Gundotra’s impending departure first popped up on Secret, where an anonymous poster wrote two days ago that the Google executive was “interviewing.”

gundotra secret

A Google spokesperson confirmed to Gigaom that the leadership of Google+ will go to Dave Besbris, whose job title (coincidentally) also is VP of Engineering and who has been on the Google+ team from the beginning as well.

However, the choice of Besbris means that Google+ Product VP Bradley Horowitz was passed over for the job. Horowitz joined Google in 2008 after leading Yahoo’s acquisitions of Delicious and Flickr, and had worked closely with Gundotra on the launch and evolution of Google+.

9 Responses to “Google exec Vic Gundotra is leaving, Dave Besbris is taking over Google+”

  1. I see a lot of people are latching on to Vic’s departure to assume it means something negative for G+. We get it, you hate Google or G+.

    Yet all I hear when I see so many people trying to inject meaning into something that they cannot possibly know (as no real details have been released) all I see is a lot of silly angst.

    For whatever reason some folks are so emotionally against the idea of G+ succeeding that they can’t seem to cope with the fact that others do use and enjoy the service.

    The head of a department leaving doesn’t indicate a negative any more than Rubin leaving as head of Android indicated its demise..quite the opposite in fact.

    Maybe you need to stop assuming negative press equates with reality as all indications are that G+ continues to grow at a steady rate.

    And how about some perspective. G+ is not even three years old and its a solid number 2 social. Facebook took 4 years to even catch MySpace.