Salar Kamangar is an Iranian-American businessman best known for his stint as YouTube CEO between 2010 and 2014. Today, Kamangar remains at Google as the SVP of YouTube and Video and was the company’s ninth employee.
Education and a chance meeting
Kamangar was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1977.
Less is known about his early life, but at some point, he moved to the United States and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Stanford University in 1999.
Kamangar was initially passionate about becoming a doctor and then a scientist, but his interest in these professions cooled after learning of their day-to-day realities.
Whilst still at Stanford, he decided that search was an industry he was passionate about and made a shortlist of companies he would love to join. These included Google, Direct Hit, and Ask Jeeves.
He then met Google co-founder Sergey Brin in 1999 after Brin had returned to his alma mater to recruit employees for his new start-up.
Salar approached Sergey who was standing in a booth and the pair exchanged contact details.
Early career at Google
Kamangar spent the next few weeks analyzing the emerging search market and its competitive landscape.
He also became intimate with Google’s search engine, shared feedback on how it could be improved, and reported any bugs.
Brin and the team were impressed with Kamangar’s initiative and persistence. After a few weeks, they granted him an interview and hired him shortly thereafter.
Kamangar felt energized by the day-to-day tasks of his new role almost immediately.
His meteoric rise over the ensuing years would mirror that of the company itself. He became a key part of Google with a long list of accomplishments. Some of these include:
- Writer of the first business plan.
- Youngest ever vice president.
- Founding member of the Google product team, and
- Leading the engineering team that built and launched AdWords.
Kamangar becomes YouTube CEO
Kamangar was announced as YouTube CEO on October 29, 2010, replacing former co-founder Chad Hurley.
Before this move, Kamangar had been the company’s Vice President of Web Applications which included Gmail, Reader, Blogger, Picasa, Video, and Spreadsheets, among others.
In 2013, he was crowned the Media Person of the Year at the Cannes Lions International Festivity of Creativity. CEO Phillip Thomas noted that “YouTube has become a global phenomenon under Kamangar’s leadership. The statistics say it all: more than one billion unique users a month watch more than six billion hours of video.”
Kamangar was also recognized as the pioneer of TrueView, a format where advertisers only pay for the ads consumers watch.
Kamangar steps down as CEO
Kamangar stepped down as YouTube CEO in February 2014. He was replaced by Susan Wojcicki, whom many believed was promoted to increase YouTube’s profitability via new advertising strategies.
Of Google’s first 19 employees, Kamangar is one of just six who is still employed by the company today.
- Salar Kamangar is an Iranian-American businessman best known for his stint as YouTube CEO between 2010 and 2014.
- Whilst studying at Stanford University, he decided that search was an industry he was passionate about. By chance, he met Google co-founder Sergey Brin on campus and was hired by the company soon after.
- As an early employee, Kamangar was responsible for drafting the first business plan and was a founding member of the Google product team. He also served as YouTube CEO between 2010 and 2014.
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