Google Loses Rock Star CIO to EMI Music


Douglas Merrill, Google CIO and VP of engineering, has accepted a new gig: president of digital at struggling EMI Music, home of the Beatles and former home of Radiohead.

So who’s Douglas Merrill?

As Caroline McCarthy of The Social noted in this very funny exhange: “Doug Merrill is leaving Google.” “Doug who?” “The Google exec who looks liike Ethan from Lost.” “Ohhhh.”

As only the second senior executive to leave Google, Merrill and his departure won’t cause a panic in the Googleplex Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg was the first senior exec to leave Google. As the former VP global sales and operations, Sandberg, who left last month, is tackling a major problem that Google’s largest social search competitor hasn’t solved: monetization.

Not that EMI doesn’t have problems of its own. Widespread piracy has taken its toll on sales and the company’s future appears to hinge on offering free music downloads supported by ad revenue with all-you-can-eat iTunes.

Will EMI be able to retain its top talent? That may be a tougher challenge than Google faces.

When Ms. Sandberg left, we noted that Google has a deep bench:

While Ms. Sandberg will be missed at Google, the company boasts a strong executive bench.

Today in The New York Times, Miguel Helft reports Google told him:

We have a deep bench and work hard to grow leaders within the company,” Google said in a statement to The New York Times. “We are attracting immensely talented people around the world, every day.”

Google has long been hiring at a fast and furious pace with its pick of rising stars in a range of industries.

The supposition that Google faces attacks on the mothership by former employees is considered by many in the industry as absurd at best. If anything, the strong relationships and ex-Googler ties with current Google executives make alliances more likely than the forging of an axis of “Do No Evil” enemies.

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