One of the biggest names in the technology industry, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has been making some serious power moves when it comes to brand transformation. She’s best known for her vital role in helping Google conduct two of their largest acquisitions: YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion, and DoubleClick in 2007 for $3.1 billion. Since then, the trailblazing CEO has gone on to tackle every challenge that’s been thrown her way.
Wojcicki began her career as a management consultant for firms like R.B. Webber & Company and Bain & Company. She later worked for Intel in their marketing division in Santa Clara, California, before becoming Google’s first marketing manager in 1999. While working for the internet search giant, Wojcicki was responsible for developing services like Google Images (2001) and Google Books (2004). She was eventually promoted to Senior Vice President of Advertising & Commerce, where she oversaw Google’s video services. In 2005, a new company named YouTube began competing against the tech giant. Rather than intensify the rivalry, the new head of Google Video proposed an acquisition instead.
In February 2014, Wojcicki was named the CEO of YouTube. It’s one of the top jobs in tech – she was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people in 2015, and the publication later named her “the most powerful woman on the Internet” – but her run hasn’t been easy. Wojcicki was quickly faced with some very tough decisions as YouTube grappled with strict policy changes. The website came under criticism for allowing inappropriate content, like videos with terrorist-related content or that exploited children, some of it even running alongside ads from big, brand-conscious corporations. And many popular users have criticized the platform for its lack of transparency when it comes to how videos are promoted to viewers, as well as how the site handles copyright complaints.
However, Wojcicki has implemented many successful ventures, such as YouTube Red, a paid, ad-free subscription service, which is home to the popular Demi Lovato documentary Simply Complicated and the recent cult hit series Cobra Kai, a tongue-in-cheek sequel to the Karate Kid films of the 1980s. Between the growth that YouTube Red is seeing in its subscriber base, and the recent launch of the YouTube Music streaming service, the site remains the dominant player in online video.
Wojcicki isn’t the only one in her family conquering the tech world; her sister Anne is the co-founder and CEO of the personal genomics website 23andMe. As for her private life, Susan is married to Dennis Troper and is a working mother of five. She’s a devoted advocate for paid parental leave, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and gender diversity in the workplace. Under Wojcicki, YouTube saw its female employment rate increase from 24% to 30%. Being a woman working full-time in an industry as demanding as tech is certainly no easy task, and Wojcicki is proving that with a strong work ethic and the right attitude, anything is possible.
Rhea Braganza | Contributing Writer