Omid Kordestani joined Google in 1999 and became the business founder, working alongside founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. It was Omid’s business know-how that led to the original, powerful algorithm and converted this info into a real company that started generating a profit after just two years, in 2001. Omid created partnerships with other companies such as Yahoo!, AOL and Netscape. Five years after joining Google, he became very wealthy when the business floated on the stock market. Things were going great but in 2009, Omid decided to leave. The reason for this? It was because other high-ranking executives were leaving (Sheryl Sandberg joined Facebook and Tim Armstrong headed AOL). Omid decided to take a step back to see what the next generation executives could do for Google. At the Re/code Code Conference earlier this week, Omid explained: “I had never stopped in my life, I had never taken a pause before.” He left to spend more time with his family, advise start up businesses and play sports.
However, even as he was taking a step back, Omid wasn’t leaving Google. Founder Larry Page asked Omit to stay involved with Google as an adviser. Every few weeks, Omid would come into the Google headquarters to talk with Larry, discussing the issues that Google faced and those he was especially struggling with. This continued until late 2014, when Google’s chief business officer, Nikesh Arora, decided to leave Google. Could Omid take back the reins? Larry talked to Omid about this, with Omid expressing his doubts as Google had tripled in size in the five years. However, it appears that negotiations were successful as Omid has returned to Google on an interim basis to see if he still enjoyed the job and, of course, if he could handle a multi-hundred billion dollar business. And he is still there! When Omid was asked about this at the Code Conference, he explained that he listened to his heart and knew he needed to at least give the role a try: “I fell in love all over again. The perspective you get when you leave is that all the problems that you have are actually interesting.”
There are issues at Google: the company has enjoyed such massive growth and profitability but the stock market and investors care more for what the business will do in the future rather than what it has achieved. Critics have asked why growth is slowing and what Google has, can, and will do to reverse the trend. We have seen projects designed to grow the business, such as Android One, designed for the next billion Android (and Google Search) users. In the last earnings call, the company responded to questions about the declining charge per ad click because it is selling more YouTube ads and it cannot charge as much for these yet. However, one of the difficulties that Omid faces from the perspective of running the business (and dealing with investors) is that Google does not provide much in the way of investor transparency and visibility into certain trends and numbers behind the headline revenue and profit figures.