Media veteran heads up Google Australia

Nick Leeder to increase local ad investment as Google finds new head

The former chief operating officer of News Limited’s online arm will take control of Google’s Australian offices in March, the search giant announced this week.

Nick Leeder, who was most recently deputy chief executive of The Australian, will become managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand from 1 March, ending a five-month search for a replacement. Prior to joining News Limited, Leeder was chief operating officer of F2 Network at Fairfax.

“Google is a company that’s not afraid to take risks and experiment with new ways to help users, advertisers, and partners. Their business is innovation, and I look forward to being part of that and joining Google’s strong local leadership team,” Leeder said in a statement.

While at The Australian, Leeder oversaw the release of the newspaper’s iPad edition, at the time defending criticism of its pricing on Apple's App Store.

Google Asia Pacific and Japan regional president, Daniel Alegre, indicated Leeder would be tasked with overseeing increased investment in local advertising, rather than product development.

Google’s popular Maps application and failed Wave venture were both initiated within Google Australian offices, largely at the hands of developers Lars and Jens Rasmussen. Lars has since left Google to work at Facebook.

The former general manager, Karim Temsamani left Google Australia in October 2010 to head up the search giant’s mobile business and mobile ads strategy in California.

“The past three years working with the Google Australia and New Zealand team have been extraordinary and I’m excited to take on a new challenge at Google," he said in a statement at the time of his departure.

While at the helm, Temsamani oversaw the expansion of Google’s local workforce to 400 and faced criticism over its collection of Wi-Fi data. Temsamani was also vocal in supporting the move to review the Federal Government's controversial mandatory ISP-level internet filter.

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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