The latest high-level executive to leave Google for Facebook is Elliott Schrage, who headed the corporate communications team. When the top person responsible for Google's messaging across all products and for its international policy leaves this points to a serious change within the company.
Facebook has been steadily recruiting top Googlers for a while now, such as Sheryl Sandberg COO, and Gideon Yu, CFO. John Battelle over at Searchblog estimates that ten per cent of Facebook used to work at Google. That's not too shocking given that both companies are fairly near each other and that most Silicon valley companies are made up of former employees of other Silicon Valley companies.
What's shocking about this particular hire is that Mr Schrage held a very important strategic position within Google. He was far more than a PR guy, his training was in law, corporate responsibility and foreign policy. He campaigned vigorously against child labor.
Take a look at his bio:
Schrage has served as Adjunct Professor at Columbia University Business School, where he teaches a seminar that explores the intersection of international human rights law and multinational business practices. It was the first, and, to date, only such course offered by a business school in the United States. He has written and spoken widely on this and related topics before human rights advocacy groups, corporations, foundations and trade associations, including Amnesty International, the Carter Presidential Center, the Ford Foundation, Business for Social Responsibility and the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry.
If anyone could enforce and interpret GOOG's "Don't be evil" policy it was certainly Mr Schrage.
It took ten months to find and hire Mr Schrage in November 2005. It could take just as long to find someone with his skill set.
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Please see: Danny Sullivan's analysis and chart of Google management changes 2000 to 2008.