Google HR chief Laszlo Bock leaving to launch startup

If an HR manager can be called legendary, it would be Laszlo Bock, the man behind the company culture at Google for the past decade, and a driving force behind the firm’s data-driven hiring and famed free-food cafeterias.

Now, Bock is leaving his post as senior vice president of “people operations” to launch a startup. The enterprise will be in “stealth mode” for a while, Bock said in an email to friends and associates. Bock gave a brief description of the startup.

“It hinges on a few ideas: that every job can have meaning, that if you give people freedom they will amaze you, that applied science (which I dubbed ‘people analytics’ a decade back) can illuminate the truth about what really makes people happy and productive, and that it doesn’t take a ton of effort or investment to make things better … but that you can make work better, everywhere,” Bock said in the email.

Replacing Bock as head of human resources at Google will be Eileen Naughton, who had been the vice president of sales and operations for Google in the U.K. and Ireland, Fortune reported.

Sources told Fortune that Naughton was one of the highest-rated Google managers among employees, and that she was a founding member of internal group Women@Google.

According to Fortune, Bock will retain an advisory role at Google. However, in his email he signed himself off as a “soon-to-be-former” senior adviser at Google and its parent company Alphabet, which would appear to mean he won’t be advising or he’ll be doing so in a more informal capacity.

Bock transformed hiring at Google from a “clunky, arduous process that relied on gimmicks like math puzzles on billboards” to a “smooth engine,” according to online magazine Quartz.

“He helped usher in employee-friendly policies like free meals and shuttle buses, and introduced take-your-parents-to-work days,” the article said.

Bock oversaw data-driven hiring practices at Google that “led it to disregard college prestige in job applications, to dramatically change its pay policies, and even change the way it presents food in its cafeterias,” according to a profile in Quartz last year.

Before arriving at Google in 2006, Bock, who has an MBA from Yale was a vice president of HR at General Electric, and before that, a management consultant at McKinsey & Co.

He is the author of “WORK RULES! Insights from Inside Google to Transform How You Live and Lead.”


Photo: Two men walk past a building on the Google campus in Mountain View. (Jeff Chiu/AP)


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  • Darth Trader

    Too bad he’s not doing this start up on the east coast…sounds like a great leader to get to know…..and work with.