Robert Kinkle will step down as YouTube’s COO in 2023

Robert Kyncl will leave YouTube in early 2023 after more than 12 years as a senior executive at the video giant. Most recently, he served as YouTube’s chief business officer, helping it grow into a multi-billion dollar powerhouse.

Kyncl’s departure was announced in a memo Monday to YouTube employees from CEO Susan Wojcicki, a copy of which was obtained by Diversity.

Kyncl is leaving “to begin the next chapter in his career,” Wojcicki wrote. “Under his leadership, YouTube built new relationships and partnerships across music, traditional media and technology, as well as our creator ecosystem – without him, the term ‘YouTuber’ would not be a mainstream term.”

Kyncl’s successor as chief business officer, effective Oct. 3, will be Mary Ellen Coe, a 10-year Google veteran who most recently served as president of Google Customer Solutions, overseeing the Internet company’s global advertising business for small and medium businesses . Before joining Google in 2012, Coe was a partner at McKinsey & Co. for 12 years advising consumer, media and technology companies. She serves on the board of Merck & Co. and was on the board of Whole Foods when the grocery chain was acquired by Amazon.

“I have had the privilege of working with Mary Ellen over the years, and she is a smart, effective leader who cares deeply about our users and her people,” Wojcicki wrote in the memo.

Kyncl, amid its successes in driving engagement and revenue on YouTube, has also had some misses. He led the creation of YouTube’s original content team, initially aiming to form the basis of YouTube’s subscription service and become a rival to Netflix or Hulu. That didn’t work out—and YouTube ended most of its initial entertainment projects. Before joining YouTube in 2010, Kyncl worked at Netflix for more than seven years, most recently as VP of Content.

Read Wojcicki’s memo to YouTube staff:

Hello everyone,

After 12 years of building YouTube’s business organization into the powerhouse it is today, with a talented global team, millions of successful creators and strong multi-industry partnerships, Robert has decided to leave YouTube in 2023 to begin the next career chapter you are Under his leadership, YouTube has built new relationships and partnerships across music, traditional media and technology, as well as our creator ecosystem – without him, the term ‘YouTuber’ would not be a mainstream term. Thanks to Robert and his leadership team, we’ve made significant contributions to the media industry, paying more than $30 billion to creators, artists and media companies over the past 3 years. We owe so much of our growth and influence to Robert’s leadership, and I want to celebrate his incredible contributions to YouTube.

The change gives us an opportunity to review where we are and where we need to go, and I’m really excited to share that we’ve hired a new Chief Business Officer, Mary Ellen Coe, to lead the business organization. Mary Ellen has spent the past 10 years at Google, most recently as President of Customer Solutions at GBO (Global Business Organization), serving millions of customers and thousands of partners worldwide. She has extensive experience working with small businesses and can bring that experience to our work with creatives, many of whom own small businesses. Prior to Google, she worked in consumer, media and technology for over a decade as a partner at McKinsey & Company. I have had the privilege of working with Mary Ellen over the years, and she is a smart, effective leader who cares deeply about our users and her people. She will start on October 3rd and Christina, Gautam, Lior, Pedro, Tara and our recently appointed VP of Product Partnerships, Miguel, will report to her.

Given the complexity of our business, I appreciate that Robert will stay on to ensure a smooth leadership transition and complete key projects in the music and product partnerships.

I want to thank Robert for his dedication to YouTube all these years. He is exceptional at what he does and I am so grateful for the many years we have been able to work together. I’ll miss his candor, authenticity and humor – he’s pretty funny!

And please join me in welcoming Mary Ellen to YouTube.

Thank you,
Susan

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