Who is Dennis Woodside, Motorola's new CEO?

Who is Dennis Woodside, Motorola's new CEO?
Biggest news today? Google finally closed the Motorola deal, so we’re waking up to a day when we should finally decide whether it’s Googorola, Googlerola or Motoogle. (Have your say in the comments below, we like Googorola!) Fact is that Google just spent a massive $12.5 billion mostly because of patents. Along with them, it got a phone and set-top box maker, though, and the way the search giant handles it is what will really prove interesting.

Google’s first step after acquiring Motorola Mobility is changing the CEO. Sanjay Jha who proved to be an exceptionally clever manager, selling the huge deal to Google and ending up with a parachute made out of gold, and also making it to the top 5 of best paid CEOs for last year, will be replaced by Google’s Dennis Woodside. And that’s a huge change, but who is this Dennis Woodside?

A 9-year Google veteran, Woodside got a surprise call the day after Google announced its acquiring Motorola. Larry Page was on the line, offering him the CEO position and one day to think about it. He accepted.

Back in time, even Apple tried to poach Woodside, but Google’s chief executive Larry Page granted him with some more responsibilities and kept him at the company. But will he be the perfect fit for the top manager of Motorola is a different question.

Woodside is an M&A lawyer, who worked at a California law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson and after that in a consulting company called McKinser prior to joining the tech industry. Google was his first gig in Silicon Valley, according to his LinkedIn profile. At the search giant, Woodside headed US sales with a focus on AdWords for around a year or two. He’s also said to be close to chief business officer Nikesh Arora.

Also, as being part of Google sales, Woodside is said to be very “analytical,” capable of delivering extremely detailed presentations, but another source describes him as "not charismatic" and with "poor leadership skills."

What we know for sure is that we don’t know much about him - Woodside is an enigmatic person with little public appearances. He will also lead a completely revamped Motorola. Half of the current executives got the boot, and the company is setting a goal to show Android in a “well-designed, well-packaged, and well-marketed product.”

Former Kindle supply manager Mark Randall will run Motorola's supply chain and Gary Briggs, responsible for taking Chrome out to the public, will head marketing for Motorola. Motorola’s new CFO is Vanessa Wittman, a former financial chief of services and insurance broker Marsh & McLennan. 

Woodside got one thing right from the start, though - he emphasized that Google will not favor its Motorola acquisition with any information that other vendors don’t get.

 “Andy’s job is to maximize the number of devices running Android,” he says. “My job is to make Motorola as successful as possible and deliver innovative hardware as a licensee of Android.”

And that’s already a good start, isn’t it?

source: Bloomberg



1. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

It's the beginning of the rise and focus of Motorola. Can't wait...

2. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

It sounds like Google has brought in some good people to take the top spots at Motorola. I thought at first that Jha would be awesome, but he and Motorola stagnated in a really bad way. Here's hoping Motorola can rise above its challenges. Based on the strength of their best products, they deserve to succeed.

17. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

I thought Jha did a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. Moto went from near bankruptcy to the third largest Android maker and back in the black, although past indebtedness still haunted them. I am excited to see what a Google inspired Moto brings to the table though. It is a bright future, I think....

3. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

I hope that Moto get extremely focused and release kickass flagship phones for the top carriers. Like how they are reducing the annoyance of their skinning on Android, make it so that it's even more transparent and can even be toggled on/off. Moto is still the maker of some sturdy ass cellphones, now I wish they would get a little closer to TI and have OMAP chips ins and outs locked down. Use some of the best screens on the market. Moto phone rocking the MAXX battery technology, an IPS 720p 4.5" screen 2GB of RAM, standard 16GB on board memory with sd card slot. Bluetooth 3.0, HDMI port the usual fare for top of the line Moto phones all with a pretty much vanilla Android. I hope that this new CEO has some vision and builds upon Motorola's strength and keeps bringing stuff like the Razr Maxx.

4. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1271; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

Dear Mr. Dennis Woodside, just announce that new Motorola devices (atleast the ones which are not locked upto operators like international versions) will never have locked bootloaders or atleast have a way to unlock like in case of HTC (ofcourse after voiding the warranty)... And all developer community will celebrate you as greatest CEO of Moto-Mobility... PLEASE, please announce that good news as early as possible...

5. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

I just hope he trolls the moto message boards and listens to the USERS of the products. They know whats wrong with the product better than any high level manager. If he can base some of his decisions on that, then he will be off to a great start. Id like to see them keep working on their build quality, its already good, but there's always room for improvement, while reducing blur further. They need to take the samsung route and be more Dev friendly by unlocking their devices from the start.. or at least making them super easy to unlock ala the galaxy series. What Id like to see most is for them to take up the mantle of the "google" manufacturer, by making unskinned super high end phones and giving super quick updates every time.The whole time they are doing that, they make ad campaigns picking other manufacturers for not being updated yet. If they did that, they would easily be in second place behind samsung in a year.

8. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1271; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

WOW.... Razr_MAXX + (almost) Vanilla_ICS = YUMMY..... Great point remixfa...

6. nb2six

Posts: 298; Member since: Apr 27, 2011


7. Osama2332

Posts: 10; Member since: May 04, 2012


9. tluv00

Posts: 134; Member since: Oct 18, 2007

Motoogle needs to slow down the ridiculous amount of phones that come out. Make nothing but high and mid range devices, allow then to boot wither vanilla or skinned Android and focus on the hardware working hand in hand with software. Motoogle FTW.

10. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

You're a little late to the party, Moto had said that they will cut back on releases last year, when Jha was CEO. So far they haven't released much new phones at all, D4 and the revised Razr the Maxx, I'm not sure about anything else on any other network that is actually new from Motorola. Since it's a Google guy in charge, I do hope he keeps Moto's output of top notch top tier devices going strong and stop short changing the US market by always giving us the lower tier version of some phones. The US users like to have beastly phones too, Moto keep the Razr type of innovation going the HDMI mirror is so useful especially on 4G phones. Honestly the biggest thing on Android which I wish Google fixes is allowing us to deny apps from auto booting, this is my device if I don't want an app using resources at all, that should be my decision especially if I do not want the app running for any reason unless I turned it on myself. It's incredibly aggravating on phones with limited memory and the fact that the longer the phone is on the less RAM remains available. So the OS tries to free up RAM, but I want control to deny any app or built in program from running automatically, like having a custom boot with only what I want running to keep my phone running optimally for MY NEEDS! Come on Google, do something about this crap as it tends to eat battery life, memory and slow down the phone.

11. tluv00

Posts: 134; Member since: Oct 18, 2007

They have released or announced 7 devices so far this year. Not much of a cut back but again they could easily say they were cutting back because they were waiting for the acquisition to go through and that was a completely different company than it is now. Jha is out as are most of the executives so anything said by Moto last year is null and void. Google owns them now so Google makes those decisions. Not the previous CEO who is no longer there.

16. bolaG

Posts: 468; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

More like 2 - Razr Maxx and Droid 4

21. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I already counted Moto, HTC and Samsung phones released recently. Guess who has more phones released...across all the carriers... Samsung. By about 10 phones. Ppl keep looking at Verizon. Samsung is like Motorola on AT&T or T Mo. Samsung has more low and mid trange phones out. Moto really stopped releasing those types lately.

22. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Thats only on Verizon that Moto has alot of phones out. Check the other carriers. One carrier Moto has no Android phones right now.

12. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

The Googlemoto should climb to the top of mobile phone food chain really..it has everything - top notch know-how in phone hardware, top notch know how in phone software, HUGE cash pile as a support. I see it being the staple of android for years to come. If Samsung really decides to turn android legacy into their own OS and app store, i see Googlemoto outcompeting them with better products eventually.

13. DigitalMD

Posts: 226; Member since: Feb 17, 2010

I notice all the top execs are lawyers and marketing people, no software or technical people. That's a bit troubling. Of course Google is an advertising company, not a technology company.

14. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Why should i care bout a new CEO?

15. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Look up Alan Mulally and Ford if you'd like to know what a new CEO can accomplish for a company which is in deep s**t.

18. Amused

Posts: 1; Member since: May 22, 2012

Sniggly: Look up Robert McNamara and Ford if you want to know what a CEO without engineering experience can do TO a company. McNamara's legacies: Ford Falcon and the Vietnam War. Contrast Lee Iacocca--the engineer's-- legacies: The Mustang. The Minivan. The Convertible's return. Perhaps Woodside has the vision to return the MMI team to respectability. Perhaps he has the ability to do better, and return it to leadership. I don't know what's in the MMI patent pool, but I suspect that this "harvest" has an inordinate number of patents that were invented and patented by the ghosts of long departed engineers, scientists, and lawyers. If the patents are expiring at a rate greater than this generation of inventors is replenishing them, I don't see how Woodside leverages this business outside of financial maneuovering...and that gum has already been chewed.

19. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008


23. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009


20. Chasers

Posts: 21; Member since: Nov 27, 2011

Everyone here made good points. However I am really intrested to see what google will do with the technology they accuired in Motorola's set top box buisiness. I could see them incorporating as much android and google as possible into the home entertainment market. Eventually all of these Home TV and Internet services will be wireless anyways with the evelopments of VOIP, LTE internet, and Internet TV. Also services like Youtube,Google TV, other services like netflix. Watch out soon google will be taking over your house too!

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