Four years ago, Google dished out a reported $100 million in stock to keep its VP of display advertising from getting poached by Twitter.
Now, that exec – Neal Mohan – is finally leaving to join Dropbox, Re/code’s Kara Swisher reports.
Mohan first joined Google in 2008, after the search giant bought online ads company DoubleClick, where he was SVP of strategy and product management.
For years, he worked under Google vet Susan Wojcicki. With Wojcicki leading ads and Mohan expertly executing the grand vision that had made DoubleClick such an appealing acquisition target, Google’s display advertising revenues swelled.
Last year, though, Wojcicki left her ads job to start running YouTube. Mohan didn’t follow her, but continued to keep their relationship close and spent a lot of time working with her.
“So much that many people inside the company thought he had moved over,” Swisher writes.
Now, Mohan has moved, just not to YouTube.
He joins Dropbox at an interesting time. The company is going through a huge transition as it tries to build its enterprise business in a brutally competitive industry. And he follows not too far behind another Google defector: current COO Dennis Woodside joined Dropbox ~18 months ago after leading Google’s Motorola unit (which Google has since sold).
Mohan will be Dropbox’s new head of product, coming on board not long after product exec Ilya Fushman left for Index Ventures in May. As Dropbox struggles to bolster both its consumer product and enterprise businesses, Mohan’s ability to take a long-view on product strategy could be beneficial.
At Google, for example, Mohan made several strategic acquisitions, including Admeld, Teracent, and Invite Media, which helped build Google’s robust ad product.
“I would argue startups invented each little pocket of that whole thing, but Neal is the puppetmaster,” Invite Media CEO Nat Turner told Business Insider in 2013. “He’s the guy who got the resources and pulled everything together.”