Sources inform "Globes" that Google Haifa Engineering Center director Dr. Yoelle Maarek is leaving her post. Maarek looks set to join Google's rival Yahoo.
Dr. Maarek's departure comes just three months after Google announced its strategy of merging its R&D centers in Tel Aviv and Haifa into one unit.
Consequently, Dr. Maarek's decision to leave is no surprise. As a result of the restructuring Prof. Yossi Matias, who previously headed Google's Tel Aviv R&D Center is now head of Google's unified Israel operations. Dr. Maarek, previously on an equal footing with Prof. Matias, found herself answerable to him.
However, the fact that Dr. Maarek is moving to the R&D center in Haifa of Google's competitor Yahoo is a major surprise. Two years ago in an interview with "Globes" magazine "Firm" Dr. Maarek said, "Google is the dream for the Israeli spirit."
In response to the reports of Dr. Maarek's departure Google said, "We appreciate the work of Yoelle and wish her continued success in the future. Yoelle contributed much to Google since the launching of the R&D center in Haifa."
Yahoo's Haifa R&D center was only opened in 2008 and is much smaller than Google's facility. The Yahoo center is headed by Dr. Ronny Lempel and is believed to employ only 10 people. Ironically, Yahoo's R&D center is located in the same building as Google, several floors below.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 5, 2009
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