Peter Kafka

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Google Still Shaking Up Sales Force: Nikesh Arora Replaces Omid Kordestani

nikeshHere’s the other shoe that hadn’t dropped following Tim Armstrong’s move from Google to run Time Warner’s (TWX) AOL: Omid Kordestani, who was the official head of Google sales, has been moved aside in favor of Nikesh Arora (pictured).

After Armstrong, who was Google’s best-known sales exec but not its highest-ranking, left, Arora was supposed to be a candidate for his job. But that post, or a version of it, went to company veteran Dennis Woodside.

Here’s the text of the announcement, buried at the bottom of Google’s earnings report:

“After ten years of building and managing our global sales and partnership operations, Omid Kordestani has decided to hand over the reins to Nikesh Arora, currently President of International Operations, and take on a new role as Senior Advisor, Office of the CEO and Founders. Continued growth is essential to our future success and no one is better placed to advise on new revenue opportunities than Omid, the business founder of Google. In his new role as President, Global Sales Operations and Business Development, Nikesh Arora will have responsibility for all Google’s revenue and customer operations, as well as marketing and partnerships. He has a proven track record at Google, having spent the last four and a half years building our European operations into a substantial business.”

Google (GOOG) points out that Kordestani’s new position will be a full-time job and will report directly to CEO Eric Schmidt. And during the company’s earnings call, Schmidt took pains to both praise Kordestani, who was on the call, and repeatedly refer questions to him.

Still, the move is bound to bring up the question: Is Kordestani being blamed in any way for the sales slowdown at Google? During the call, Schmidt argued (quite sensibly) that sales were down because the economy was down. But Google also just let go of 200 of sales people, after Kordestani explained that “When companies grow that quickly it’s almost impossible to get everything right–and we certainly didn’t.”


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