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Youtube Technology People on the Move

Gill Whitehead to depart Google


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

August 15, 2019 | 3 min read

Gill Whitehead is to depart Google after three years, The Drum can reveal.

Gill Whitehead Google

Gill Whitehead, Google

Whitehead joined the tech giant from Channel 4 in March 2016 when she took up the role of senior director of market insight EMEA. Within a year she was promoted to senior director, client solutions and analytics.

Google declined to comment on its plans to replace her. Whitehead is understood not to be leaving for another role but to instead do a Masters at Oxford's Internet Institute.

Whitehead started her career at the Bank of England and then Deloitte Consulting before making the move into broadcasting in 2005 when she joined the BBC as head of strategy, rising to become its director its children's division.

She then spent eight years at Channel 4, the majority of which leading its audience technologies and insight department.

In the role, she was lauded for building the broadcaster’s video platform 4oD, now named All4, and developing its ‘viewer engagement strategy’ which saw the business create a database of registered viewers now well in excess of 13 million, including over half of all 16-34-year-olds in the UK.

The move to Google after 12 years in the British television sector was one she previously described as making with some "trepidation" given how vocal her previous bosses had been on the threats posed by Silicon Valley tech giants on their organisations.

She joined at a time when Google was facing a number of issues in relation to brand safety, transparency and measurement.

At a conference hosted by the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) last year, Whitehead spoke of her role in the "clean up" operation at the company and revealed that she had been working towards a measurement system comparable to TV for YouTube.

“We’re working hard to deliver that ask here in the UK,” she said, "because the efficiency of marketers’ media buys are at stake.”

Outside of Google Whitehead has held a number of board positions including non-executive director at the Financial Ombudsman Service, and board director of both Youview Television and Freeview Television.

She joined the board of Camelot, which runs the National Lottery, in June 2019 and the board of Informa in August, both non-executive director roles she will continue to hold.

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