On the same day that Google CEO Larry Page was announcing a major change involving the company’s Android and Chrome business units, he also moved forward more quietly on another reorganization involving Google’s mapping and commerce operations.
Google confirmed Thursday that veteran engineering executive Jeff Huber is stepping aside as senior vice president for “Geo and Commerce” to join Google X, the push-the-envelope unit that’s responsible for some of the company’s special projects, such as the wearable Glass computer and the self-driving car.
Huber’s division will be split up, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reports the mapping operation will join the search technology group that reports to senior vice president Alan Eustace, while the commerce group will be added to the portfolio of Susan Wojcicki, who’s senior vice president for advertising.
Coming on the heels of the Android/Chrome reorg, the move appears to be part of Page’s ongoing effort to streamline the company’s management structure. Some critics have previously suggested that mapping and commerce had very little to do with each other and that Huber had his hands full running both. Page praised Huber in a statement released by a Google spokesperson, saying:
“Jeff is an extraordinary executive. He just finished his first decade at Google — having worked on some of our most complicated issues like ads, apps, payments and geo — and now he is eager to work in more of a start up like environment.”
Huber used similar language to announce his move in a Twitter post: “Finishing up my first decade at Google, and excited to begin the next one at Google X. What would you like to see X do next?”
While the Journal says Page announced Huber’s move internally on Wednesday, it’s unclear why the CEO didn’t mention it when he announced in a public blog post that longtime Android chief Andy Rubin would step aside and that the Android group will now report to senior vice president Sundar Pichai, who also runs Chrome and apps. A Google spokesperson declined comment.
(Photo credit: Peter DaSilva/The New York Times)