Neal Mohan – All you need to know about YouTube’s Indian-origin CEO

Neal Mohan

Known for his expertise in product and strategy development in silicon valley, Indian American Neal Mohan is set to take over as YouTube CEO. Social Samosa looks at his career milestones.

Neal Mohan, the longtime Chief Product Officer at YouTube, is set to take over as the CEO of the Google-owned video-sharing platform, following the resignation of former head Susan Wojcicki. 

In a blog, the former CEO talked about Mohan’s ‘terrific’ leadership saying he has a ‘wonderful’ sense for the platform’s product, business, creators, user communities, and employees.

She continued, “With all we’re doing across Shorts, streaming, and subscriptions, together with the promises of AI, YouTube’s most exciting opportunities are ahead, and Neal is the right person to lead us.” 

Also Read: YouTube advertisers can now select time slots for ads shown during special broadcasts

Indian-origin CEOs have been spearheading legacy US companies. With this announcement, Mohan will be joining the likes of global chiefs of Indian origin such as Google parent Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, IBM’s Arvind Krishna, and Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen, FedEx’s Raj Subramaniam and Starbucks’ Laxman Narasimhan.

As someone with a wide range of expertise in product and strategy development, Mohan is widely known in silicon valley, despite his low profile otherwise. So who is the newest YouTube CEO? Here’s all you need to know about him.

Early Education and Career

Born in Lucknow, India, Mohan holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He was an Arjay Miller Scholar, an award given to the top 10% of the class who have received the highest grade point averages (GPA).

He started his career at Accenture (then Andersen Consulting) in 1996 and then joined a startup called NetGravity that was later acquired by Internet advertising company DoubleClick in 2002.

In 2003, after a successful few years at the company, Mohan hit a pause on his professional life and went back to Stanford University to get his MBA. Following his graduation, the then-CEO, David Rosenblatt, called him back for his product expertise.

At the time, he already had offers from Google and other tech companies but he agreed to rejoin DoubleClick as their head of products. Mohan and Rosenblatt together created a strategy and roadmap for DoubleClick.

Becoming a Sought-after Talent in Tech

Mohan did end up at Google after the tech giant bought DoubleClick for $3.1 billion in 2007. He and his team thrived at Google.

He was one of the most sought-after experts for his knowledge. This is why many tech giants had been actively seeking him out. 

Around 2011, Twitter was looking for a new person to lead its product team. Mohan was reportedly a top candidate for the position, and Twitter was said to be in advanced talks with him about taking over as Chief Product Officer. However, Google was not backing out without a fight

Google had paid over $100 million to retain him and prevent him from leaving the company to join Twitter. The payment is reportedly in the form of stock and played a crucial part in his stay.

Growth at Google

Mohan led the firm’s display and video advertising business and built solutions for advertisers and media partners that enabled the growth of the consumer internet, mobile app ecosystem and online media industry.

He was responsible for its advertising product offerings on YouTube, the Google Display Network, AdSense, AdMob, and the DoubleClick ad tech products, from 2008 to 2015. 

He has also led several strategic startup acquisitions to bolster Google’s advertising offerings including Invite Media, Admeld, and Teracent.

Move to YouTube and Leading Product Offerings

When Susan Wojcicki, a key architect of Google’s online advertising business, took over as CEO in 2014, she brought Mohan in as her lieutenant where he served as YouTube’s chief product officer in 2015.

He has played a pivotal role in the launch of some of YouTube’s biggest products including its subscription service YouTube Premium (then YouTube Red), music streaming service YouTube Music, kids-oriented app YouTube Kids, live television streaming service YouTube TV and its short-form video service YouTube Shorts. 

He looks after the user experience on mobile, desktop and television apps and leads YouTube’s trust and safety team that oversees the creation and enforcement of platform policies and community guidelines governing the content available on the platform.

Board roles

Mohan currently sits on the board of companies such as personal styling service Stitch Fix and genetic testing firm 23andme, co-founded by Anne Wojcicki, the sister of Susan Wojcicki. His previous stints as a member of the boards of directors include the Internet Advertising Bureau (2012-2016) and the Mobile Marketing Association (2012-2015) and the management board for the Stanford Graduate School of Business (2013-2017).