Google Video chief signs out

May 15, 2007, 10:32 PM UTC
Fortune

The writing was on the wall for this one since the moment last October that Google (GOOG) agreed to buy YouTube. Jennifer Feikin, the director and chief businesswoman of Google Video, is leaving the company. I’ve wondered ever since the deal was announced how Google Video and YouTube would co-exist inside the same company. YouTube so thoroughly vanquished Google Video, an also-ran product in terms of traffic, that Google was compelled to buy YouTube, if only to keep it out of the hands of Yahoo (YHOO), Microsoft (MSFT) or one of the several broadcast networks that should have bought it. Feikin, at least, has something of an answer to the question: She’s not sticking around to find out.

A four-year-veteran at Google (yes, typical stock-option grants take four years to vest), Feikin was cut from a different cloth than other Googlers. Her glittering resume includes stints at Time Warner’s AOL unit (TWX), News Corp.’s (NWS) 20th Century Fox and the consulting giant McKinsey. (No slouch: She’s Harvard Law and Duke undergrad to boot.) Google Video’s relative lack of traction compared with YouTube shows that on the Internet even a well funded product guided by an experienced and savvy strategist doesn’t always win.

In an email to her peeps Feikin reflected on her “amazing years” at Google, which included the “launch and phenomenal growth of a once-tiny product called Google Video.” She said she’s leaving for “new adventures.” She shouldn’t have any trouble finding them.