Neal Mohan’s rise to YouTube helm & challenges that lie ahead

Several challenges like integration of Google’s new chatbot AI & stiff competition from other short-duration video apps lie ahead of YouTube’s new chief Neal Mohan.

New Delhi | Updated: 17 February, 2023 2:03 pm IST
Neal Mohan had been working as YouTube's chief product officer since 2015.
Neal Mohan had been working as YouTube's chief product officer since 2015.

In yet another feature in the cap of the Indian diaspora, Neal Mohan took over as the chief executive officer (CEO) of YouTube replacing its long-time head Susan Wojcicki on Thursday.

Mohan, an Indian-American, is a 1996 computer science graduate from Stanford University and a master’s degree holder in business administration from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Neal Mohan takes over the reins of the world’s largest video-sharing platforms when artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbots like ChatGPT are all set to disrupt the way people search information online. He will have to also tackle stiff competition in short-duration video-sharing segments from other players like TikTok and Instagram.

“Today, 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 blog and shared it on Twitter on Thursday.

She further wrote: “Neal Mohan was one of those leaders, and he’ll be the SVP and new head of YouTube. I’ve spent nearly 15 years of my career working with Neal.”

In response, Neal Mohan – who has been working as chief product officer at YouTube since 2015 – wrote, “It’s been amazing to work with you over the years. You’ve built YouTube into an extraordinary home for creators and viewers. I’m excited to continue this awesome and important mission. Looking forward to what lies ahead…”

Mohan started his career at Accenture (which was then known as Andersen Consulting) in 1996 and later joined a startup called NetGravity which was later purchased by Internet advertising firm DoubleClick. He became a part of Google when DoubleClick was acquired by the Internet giant in 2007 for USD 3.1 billion.

He quickly rose through the ranks at Google. Mohan played a pivotal role in the development of AdSense, a program that enables website owners to display Google ads and earn revenue based on clicks or impressions. AdSense is now one of the most successful advertising platforms in the world.

Mohan quickly rose through the ranks to become senior vice president of Display and Video Ads. After becoming YouTube’s chief product officer in 2015, he set up a top-notch product and UX team, played pivotal roles in the launch of some of our biggest products, including YouTube TV, YouTube Music and Premium and Shorts, and has led our Trust and Safety team, ensuring that YouTube lives up to its responsibility as a global platform.

In the blog, Wojcicki said that Mohan has a “wonderful sense for our product, our business, our creator and user communities, and our employees”.

“Neal will be a terrific leader for YouTube,” she added.

Created with creating the largest creator economy in the world, Mohan’s foremost challenge will be to integrate Google’s response to ChatGPT, Bard, into the YouTube search ecosystem.

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