Google Loses Another Ad Exec

Regional Head of AdWords Grady Burnett to Run Facebook's Global Self-Serve-Ad Business

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A correction has been made in this story. See below for details.

DETROIT ( -- Grady Burnett, head of a regional division of Google's AdWords division, is leaving the company for Facebook, Ad Age sibling Crain's Detroit Business reported today. He is the fourth top ad exec to leave the search giant in recent months.

Mr. Burnett will move from Google's regional AdWords operation in Ann Arbor, Mich., to Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., to head Facebook's global self-serve-ad operation, reporting to Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

Just this week Google's head of advertising-agency relations, Erin Clift, left Google for AOL, joining former Google exec Jeff Levick, AOL's global head of ad strategy, and, of course, Tim Armstrong, the former head of North America for Google, who is now CEO of AOL.

Mr. Burnett was a significant exec inside Google's self-serve AdWords division, the pay-per-click, search-term-based advertising that's the company's primary source of revenue. He comes to Facebook as the company makes a push to become cash-flow-positive in 2010. While Facebook is hoping to build out a Google-like self-serve-ad business, as well as brand advertising through its "engagement ads," it is also looking at other means of generating revenue, such as micropayments.

The social network has more than 200 million global users and is expected to generate $500 million in sales in 2009. Google's 2008 revenue was $21.7 billion.

Mr. Burnett, who joined Google in 2006, will be replaced at AdWords by Google veteran Mike Miller. "As you might imagine, this was a hard decision for me and my family," Mr. Burnett told Crain's Detroit Business. "We love Michigan, and I thoroughly enjoyed my nearly four years working for Google."

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Mr. Burnett as the head of Google's AdWords.

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