YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley exits YouTube

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Chad Hurley, one of the three original founders of the groundbreaking website YouTube that radically altered the media landscape, is stepping down as its chief executive, the San Bruno, Calif., company said Friday.

Hurley, 33, let the news slip Thursday night during a technology conference at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. When asked what he’s up to, Hurley responded that he would be giving up his CEO title and take on an advisory role.


The company said Salar Kamangar, vice president of product management, would assume the role of CEO.

News of Hurley’s resignation did not surprise many YouTube employees, who have gotten used to seeing less of Hurley over the last two years as Kamangar took on greater responsibilities of running the online video company.

Kamangar came to YouTube from Google Inc., where he and a small team of engineers came up with AdWords, the revenue engine that drives much of Google’s profit. He is said to be charged with finding ways for YouTube to make money from the billions of user-generated online videos it serves up each day. Google, which owns YouTube, has said the site is on the verge of profitability, thanks to Kamangar’s efforts to cultivate the type of premium content that can command higher advertising rates.

Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006, just over a year after Hurley co-founded the company with Steve Chen and Jawed Karim. Hurley’s share from the sale was close to $350 million.

Hurley co-founded YouTube aftera stint at PayPal, which is where he met Chen and Karim. The site, which launched in 2005, was intially a haven of amateur videos and pirated content from movies and TV shows. YouTube has had a love/hate relationship with traditional media companies, including Viacom, which got into a heated legal battle over pirated material on the site. Many media companies now, however, use YouTube as a promotional platform for their content.

YouTube has also become a place for gotcha moments. Gaffes by politicans and world leaders are often uploaded to the site for the world to see, and ‘YouTube moment’ has become a catchphrase for when someone makes a blunder in front of the cameras.


-- Alex Pham