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Illustration by Matt Vascellaro
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The Ascension of Google’s Sridhar Ramaswamy

Photo: Illustration by Matt Vascellaro

In late 2013, Google’s top two ad executives, Sridhar Ramaswamy and Susan Wojcicki, were at war. They complained about each other to colleagues and tussled over an important new ad technology initiative. Tensions culminated in a meeting when Mr. Ramaswamy suggested Ms. Wojcicki and her team were “hiding the truth,” according to a person present.

It was typical of the low-profile but sharp-elbowed software engineer who, while a man of few words, has shown himself unafraid to disagree openly with colleagues and subordinates. In this case, the two were feuding about a way to improve the quality of advertising on Google sites like YouTube by using data from Google’s Web-search engine.

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