Saturday, November 19, 2011

Head of Google’s Public Policy Operations Resigns

Alan Davidson, left, testified about privacy issues at a Congressional hearing in May.

As Google faces stepped-up interrogations from regulators and policy makers, Alan Davidson, who runs its public policy operations for North and South America, announced  Monday that he would leave the company this month.

Mr. Davidson’s departure comes as Google faces a wide ranging antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and days after Google’s chairman, Eric E. Schmidt, submitted answers to questions posed by senators on the antitrust subcommittee, before which technology Mr. Schmidt testified in September.

Mistique Cano, a Google spokeswoman, said Google had not named a successor and had no imminent plans to do so. She said Google had “a deep bench” of people handling public policy, including Pablo Chavez, director of public policy in the United States.

Mr. Davidson started Google’s Washington office in 2005 as a one-man operation. He previously was associate director at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonprofit group that advocates for an open Internet.

He significantly increased Google’s lobbying efforts, building a robust Washington office and public policy teams in other cities. Google’s operating expenses, a large portion of which go to lobbying efforts, were $3.28 billion in the three months through September, up from $2.19 billion a year earlier.

“After six and a half years, Ive decided its the right moment for me to leave my current role at the company,” Mr. Davidson wrote in an e-mail to Google employees  on Monday afternoon. “Starting later this month, I will be taking a sabbatical to explore other opportunities.”

In a statement, David C. Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer, said:, “Alan has done an extraordinary job building the team in D.C. and working on the important policy issues facing the Internet and Google. Were grateful for everything hes done and wish him the best.”

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