POWER PLAYERS: 35 of Google’s top decision-makers in Europe, covering everything from cloud computing to AI and Android

Google employs tens of thousands of people throughout Europe, with around 10% of its 135,000-strong workforce in the UK and Ireland alone.

As regulators on the continent work to catch up with new technological advances, the internet giant faces increasing pressure to keep on top of its game, warding off internal dissent, growing tensions with rivals, and the threat of being broken up altogether.

With this in mind, Insider compiled a list of 35 of Google’s most powerful executives in the region, highlighting senior managers who cover everything from cloud computing to adtech and Android. Check it out below.

Matt Brittin



Role: President of EMEA business and operations

Hired in: 2007

Based in: UK 

Previous experience: Previously a stalwart of two of Britain’s biggest firms — the newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror (now Reach PLC) and the supermarket giant Sainsbury’s — Brittin helped build Google’s business in the UK. A decade ago, he moved to oversee the company’s European operations, and he’s become a big name on the continent in tech-policy circles.

Annette Kroeber-Riel

Annette Kroeber-Riel, Google


Role: VP of government affairs and public policy

Hired in: 2007

Based in: Germany

Previous experience: Since joining the tech giant 14 years ago, Kroeber-Riel has worked her way up through the ranks and is regularly snapped side by side with CEO Sundar Pichai. She was previously the head of government relations for the internet firm Verisign and has volunteered with Human Rights Watch. 

Anne Rooney

Role: Head of public policy and government relations, EMEA

Hired in: 2016 

Based in: Ireland

Previous experience: Like her boss Brittin, Rooney has prior experience in a leading role at one of Europe’s biggest supermarket chains — Tesco in Ireland. Following a brief stint as the director of communications for the Construction Industry Federation, Rooney has retained her public-policy role at Google since joining five years ago. 

Marco Pancini

Marco Pancini


Role: Director of public policy at YouTube, EMEA

Hired in: 2007 

Based in: Belgium

Previous experience: Once Google’s senior policy counsel in Europe, Pancini previously served in a similar position for eBay in Italy. He took the reins of YouTube’s EU policy department in 2018.

Marcin Olender

Marcin Olender


Role: Public policy and government relations manager, Central and Eastern Europe

Hired in: 2015 

Based in: Poland

Previous experience: Before Google, Olender — a public-sector convert — oversaw the Polish government’s European affairs at the Ministry of Administration and Digitization. He previously studied law at the University of Warsaw. 

Karie Jo Barwind

Role: Regional ethics and compliance counsel, EMEA

Hired in: 2011

Based in: UK

Previous experience: Barwind is — quite literally — an all-singing, all-dancing legal expert, having graduated from Syracuse University with a musical-theater degree in the 1990s. After that, she attended Cornell Law School and went on to lead Abbott Laboratories’ ethics and compliance efforts.

Craig Fenton

Craig Fenton, Google UK Ireland and southern Europe ops lead


Role: Director of strategy and operations, UK, Ireland, and Southern Europe

Hired in: 2017

Based in: UK

Previous experience: Fenton is a self-described founder, investor, YouTuber, and author. Prior to his role at Google, he set up Big Community Records, a music label “with a social purpose.” He shared his experiences of the endeavor in a TedX Talk earlier this year.

Cristina Melnic

Google Senior Policy Specialist, Trust & Safety EMEA Cristina Melnic


Role: Senior policy specialist, EMEA

Hired in: 2015 

Based in: Moldova

Previous experience: Since graduating from the University of Oxford with a master’s in history, Melnic has worked her way up Google’s chain of command, rising from an account strategist in the marketing department to one of the company’s leading lights in political advertising.

Thierry Geerts

Thierry Geerts, Google director of Belgium


Role: Country director, Belgium

Hired in: 2011

Based in: Belgium

Previous experience: Google’s top man in Brussels describes himself as holding expertise in digital transformation, people management, digital strategy, and marketing.

In the words of one senior colleague, writing on LinkedIn: “Thierry is straight-talking. You always know where you are with him, and he stands up for what he believes in. He can quickly identify the crux of any problem.”

 

Benoît Tabaka

Benoit Tabaka, Google


Role: Director of government affairs and public policy, Google France

Hired in: 2012

Based in: France

Previous experience: As the EU continues to clamp down on Big Tech, it’s no secret that Sundar Pichai and his fellow CEOs see leading European nations such as France and Germany as key targets. Tabaka, once a key member of the French Digital Council, is Pichai’s man on the ground in Paris.

Ria Strasser-Galvis

Role: Europe policy lead

Hired in: 2016 

Based in: US

Previous experience: Before signing a contract with Google five years ago, Strasser-Galvis worked as a desk officer at the State Department, and later as an analyst at the Government Accountability Office. She now takes a lead on European policy from her office in Washington, DC.

Tom Hulme

Tom Hulme Google GV lead in Europe


Role: Head of GV in Europe

Hired in: 2014

Based in: UK

Previous experience: A graduate of Harvard Business School, Hulme previously founded OpenIDEO, “an open innovation platform where people from all corners of the world collaboratively tackle some of the toughest global issues.” The startup won a coveted Webby Award in 2011.

Since taking the reins of GV, formerly Google Ventures, in Europe, Hulme has overseen investments in firms such as Secret Escapes, Cambridge Epigenetix, GoCardless, and Oxford Sciences Innovation.

Cathy Collins

Role: Head of new business, Southern Europe

Hired in: 2011

Based in: Ireland

Previous experience: Collins has steadily risen through Google’s ranks since joining the company a decade ago. She started as an online sales manager before moving to a more senior role in Australia, where she curated the company’s relationship with the automotive sector.

In 2019 she moved back to Dublin to oversee operations in the UK and Ireland, and she added her current title to her list of responsibilities a few months later.

Ksenia Duxfield-Karyakina

Ksenia Duxfield-Karyakina, Google


Role: Public policy and government relations manager, Google Cloud

Hired in: 2011

Based in: UK

Previous experience: Duxfield-Karyakina, a Russia native, has spent a full decade with one of the world’s biggest tech companies. Previously, she was the head of PR for Russian Railways, and then did a two-year stint with Eurasian Group on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Julienne Ernst

Julienne Ernst, Google central Europe lead


Role: International growth manager, Central Europe

Hired in: 2018

Based in: UK

Previous experience: A graduate of the University of Oxford, Ernst started her career by interning at the UN. Before her move to Google, she took a marketing role with the tech giant HP and did a four-year stint at McKinsey.

Tamzin Taylor

Tamzin Taylor, Head of Google Play Partnerships in Europe


Role: Head of Google Play partnerships, Western Europe

Hired in: 2012

Based in: UK

Previous experience: A graduate of both the London School of Economics and Harvard Business School, Taylor earned her stripes at mobile-driven firms such as Vodafone and Virgin.

Since joining Google as an ads-solution specialist, she’s worked as the company’s head of Android partnerships for Australia and New Zealand, and she’s led business-development projects for new Play apps in the UK and the Nordics. 

Pip White

Pip White


Role: Managing director of Google Cloud in the UK and Ireland

Hired in: 2020

Based in: UK

Previous experience: Google employs more than 12,000 people in the UK and Ireland, accounting for around 10% of the tech giant’s global workforce. One of the newest among them is Pip White, the onetime Salesforce executive snapped up by Google last June and charged with heading up the company’s cloud operations in both territories.

Speaking to Insider about the perils of winning a plum new job amid COVID-19, she said: “I’ve had a great six months, but I couldn’t discuss my work successes without noting that, in this interminable lockdown, one of my greatest achievements has been teaching my 9-year-old all the words to ‘Starman’ by David Bowie.”

Despite having applied for the job more than a year ago, White said she still hadn’t set foot in any of the company’s four offices across London and Dublin. “In fact, I still need to clear my office at Salesforce,” she added.

 

Bruno Mamer

Role: Chief of staff to the president of Google Europe

Hired in: 2011

Based in: France

Previous experience: Mamer joined Google in Silicon Valley a decade ago. Previously, he was a senior associate at McKinsey and then the head of commercial management at Vodafone. Now he’s tasked with shepherding the company’s strategy in Europe and works with Matt Brittin to make plans for the continent a reality.

Daniela Soler

Daniela Soler, Google Shopping Manager, Southern and Northern Europe


Role: Google Shopping manager, Southern and Northern Europe 

Hired in: 2014

Based in: Ireland

Previous experience: A native of Venezuela, Soler studied sociology and statistics in her home country before leaving to take an account-strategist role at Google’s Dublin office.

Before long she was managing a 10-person sales team, and today she’s charged with managing and developing a large group of Google Shopping account managers across a number of countries and merchant segments.

Rutger Zonneveld

Role: Director, Central and Eastern Europe

Hired in: 2007

Based in: Ireland

Previous experience: In 2006, Zonneveld raised money and traveled to help build schools in Ghana, partnering with local authorities there.

He went on to do youth-outreach work in Washington, DC, and helped develop an SMS text-messaging service to raise awareness of HIV in Malawi.

The London Business School graduate began his career by interning at The Hague, before working for the Dutch telecom firm KPN. “I strongly believe that results come from building long-term, trust-based relationships, both with my teams and with our partners,” he wrote on LinkedIn. 

Erika Nauman

Google policy specialist Erika Nauman


Role: Policy specialist for legal online operations, EMEA

Hired in: 2017

Based in: US

Previous experience: An expert on Russia, having worked in the US Embassy in Moscow and taught Russian on the side, Nauman is described as “smart, diligent, and reliable” by those who know her.

Michael Maier

Michael Maier, head of FitBit central Europe


Role: Head of Fitbit, Central Europe

Hired in: 2021, as part of Google’s acquisition of Fitbit

Based in: Germany

Previous experience: When Google first announced plans to purchase Fitbit in 2019, the move was met with some criticism.

Despite some misgivings from regulators, the deal went through earlier this year, and Fitbit’s most senior employees were brought into the fold.

Maier has been overseeing the company’s Central European operations since the start of 2020. He previously held senior roles at companies such as LG and Kodak.

Russell Noble

Role: Head of customer experience, UK, Ireland, Northern and Southern Europe

Hired in: 2006

Based in: Ireland

Previous experience: Since taking on a junior role fresh out of university, Noble has become one of Google’s longest-standing employees on the continent. Today he manages a team of more than 80 employees at its Dublin headquarters and teams made up of more than 300 people internationally.

 

Jens Bussmann

Jens Bussmann, Android lead in Europe


Role: Head of Android Auto partnerships, Europe 

Hired in: 2011

Based in: Germany

Previous experience: Prior to joining Google, Bussmann enjoyed a string of senior roles at a number of well-known tech firms, including Bosch, Siemens, and Cisco.

Since making the jump to Google a decade ago, he’s climbed the corporate ladder to lead Google’s efforts to integrate its Android operating system with vehicles across the continent. In his own words, he brings “the power and magic of Android and Google Services to every car infotainment system.”

Katya Degrieck

Role: Head of large partnerships, Northern Europe

Hired in: 2016

Based in: Belgium

Previous experience: Since completing her MBA at the prestigious Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, Degrieck has worked a number of high-power roles at a string of telecom companies in Belgium.

A self-described “digital optimist,” she is an advocate of boosting female representation in the workplace. Today she helps potential partner businesses learn how Google can help their corporate strategies succeed.

 

Arjan El Fassed

Arjen Al Fassed


Role: Head of public policy and government relations, Netherlands 

Hired in: 2018 

Based in: Netherlands

Previous experience: A onetime director of the Open State Foundation, an organization dedicated to digital transparency, El Fassed was previously a member of parliament in the Netherlands, and he’s worked for the likes of Oxfam and the Center for Palestine Research and Studies. 

Peter Friis

Peter Friis, Google Northern Europe VP


Role: VP of Northern Europe

Hired in: 2005

Based in: Denmark

Previous experience: In the words of one former colleague, “Peter is probably the most successful person in Denmark the last eight years in terms of growth of business and retention of outstanding talent.

“Together with his Google team, Peter has written a significant part of the media history in our region. I especially admire Peter’s determination for growth and delivery.”

 

Christine Antlanger-Winter

Role: Country director, Austria

Hired in: 2018

Based in: Austria

Previous experience: Antlanger-Winter spent 15 years rising through the ranks of the media and marketing firm Mindshare, where she spent a 10-month stint as the CEO of the firm’s Austrian operations, before leaving to take the same role at Google.

Patrick Warnking

Patrick Warnking, Google Switzerland chief


Role: Country director, Switzerland

Hired in: 2001

Based in: Switzerland

Previous experience: Warnking previously worked in Munich as the commercial director of the German media company ProSiebenSat. From there he joined Google, where, in his own words, he’s focused on his passion for “exciting purpose, strong innovation, trusted responsibility and great teams.”

Dmytro Sholomko

Role: Country director, Ukraine

Hired in: 2006

Based in: Ukraine

Previous experience: Sholomko previously worked as a managing partner at United Bank Limited, a Pakistani multinational bank.

Antti Järvinen

Role: Country director, Finland

Hired in: 2016

Based in: Finland

Previous experience: Järvinen is a veteran CEO, having previously taken the top job at the Finnish marketing firm ToinenPHD, and later at its regional branch of Omnicom.

He is a participant in the growing Finnish startup scene, having invested in and taken board seats for a number of up-and-coming firms.

Sharon Marshall

Sharon Marshall, Director, EMEA Partnership Solutions Google


Role: Director of EMEA partnership solutions

Hired in: 2011

Based in: UK

Previous experience: Before joining Google, Marshall spent a decade at fellow internet giant Yahoo, where she eventually rose to run the company’s advertising operations throughout the EMEA regions.

Philipp Justus

Philipp Justus, Google central Europe VP


Role: VP of Central Europe

Hired in: 2013

Based in: Germany

Previous experience: Justus was previously a senior VP at eBay and PayPal. He joined Google as the managing director of Google in Austria and Switzerland, before being given the Central Europe brief in 2015.

Dana Eaton

Role: VP of Google Cloud customer experience, EMEA 

Hired in: 2021

Based in: Portugal

Previous experience: Eaton is the newest Googler on our list, joining the company earlier this year following a 15-year stretch at the consulting giant Accenture, where she led sales in Europe.

 

Goswijn Thijssen

Goswijn Thijssen, Google Director for Northern Europe


Role: Director of mobile and platforms, Northern Europe

Hired in: 2012

Based in: Netherlands

Previous experience: Before signing on with Google almost a decade ago, Thijssen spent years working in marketing for the oil and gas multinational ExxonMobil, before spending another eight years working in sales and marketing for Microsoft.



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