Exclusive: Google CEO's inner circle: Meet the L Team

Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:58pm EST
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By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The most powerful group at Google Inc used to be known simply as "The OC," short for operating committee. Now, it goes by a more telling name: "L Team," short for Larry's Team.

The change is more than a mere rebranding after Google co-founder Larry Page became chief executive nine months ago, reclaiming a title he last held in 2001. Page has moved quickly to remake the company in his image, and this influential group is responsible for plotting strategic priorities, such as social networking and mobile computing.

In the revamping of the group earlier this year, Page swapped out several of the executives who previously had seats at the table and brought in managers spearheading key initiatives.

Among the new members of Page's cabinet are social networking head Vic Gundotra, Android mobile chief Andy Rubin and YouTube head Salar Kamangar, according to people familiar with the matter.

Page meets regularly with the team, which also includes Google's top finance and legal executives and is now internally called the L Team, to discuss, evaluate and approve their plans, from acquisitions to new products.

"All major decisions flow through that group," said one of the people, speaking anonymously because of the confidential nature of the topic.

The new team was appointed around the time that Page took over as CEO and reorganized the company's management structure. In addition to placing directors of key product groups under his direct supervision, and giving those groups more leeway to operate autonomously, Page transformed the operating committee into the L Team, a move not reported until now.

A Google representative declined to comment on the changes Page made to the team. The company also declined to make executives available for interviews.   Continued...