Original story: Re/code's Kara Swisher just reported that Neal Mohan, for many years the architect of the DoubleClick family of products and top product guy in Google's sprawling display ad business, is leaving the company to take a similar role with Dropbox. Read it.
AdExchanger has reached out to both companies to confirm, and we will update this story as soon as we hear back.
Rumors have swirled of a Mohan exit since Sridhar Ramaswamy took control of Google's display ad business last year in the wake of Susan Wojcicki's transfer to YouTube. As AdExchanger reported in detail last November, Ramaswamy brought his own lieutenants at that time to help remake and simplify DoubleClick's product family. Longtime DoubleClick employees have speculated that Mohan might leave the company too, and that outcome seemed more likely when Google recently made several "heir apparent" promotions within the company.
One of those promotions was Brad Bender, a longtime DoubleClick staffer who was named VP of product management three months ago in March 2015, after seven years as director of product management. The jump from director to VP is a big one at Google, and his hire might indicate Bender is in line to run all display ad products.
Mohan's exit comes four years after he nearly left Google to take a product role at Twitter. As Michael Arrington described in a TechCrunch post, Google successfully countered with $100 million in stock, among the top retention bonuses ever paid in advertising circles.
Mohan's exit in the summer of 2015 comes at what could be the pinnacle of its dominance of the ad platform business. Google for the first time faces formidable new competitors in Facebook and Verizon/AOL who seem eager to scrape away at its market share. While the emergence of these forces doesn't assure Google's display ad business will contract, it may not have such an easy time growing as it has in the eight years since it acquired DoubleClick and Neal Mohan.