Israel's Meir Brand Appointed Google VP

Director of Google Israel since 2005 wins a top job in the global firm, CEO Sundar Pichai announced in an email sent out to employees.

Meir Brand at TheMarker's Digital 2014 conference.
Ofer Vaknin

Meir Brand, CEO of Google Israel since 2005, was promoted last week to the role of vice president of the giant multinational technology firm.

Brand will continue as Google's director for EMEA Emerging Markets (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), as a management team member of Google EMEA, and head of Google Israel.

Brand's promotion along with that of other senior executives was announced last week by an email sent out by Google CEO Sundar Pichai to all company employees.

After completing a bachelor’s degree in economics at Tel Aviv University and a master's degree at Harvard, Brand began his career in the internet world in 1999 as a business development director for excite@home, one of the leading internet providers and search engines of that period.

“It was clear to me after the collapse that it was temporary – that the world of the internet had enormous potential, which was very far from fulfillment,” said Brand referring to the period of the bursting of the internet bubble in the 1990s, in an interview with TheMarker. As a result, he added, he decided that he pursue a career in the internet industry.

“When I returned to Israel, I joined ICQ as the vice president of marketing and sales. There, because it was a global company, I found myself flying abroad quite a lot and not being in Israel. I wanted to continue in the technological-digital area, but to spend more time in Israel and also to know the local market better, so I joined Microsoft,” said Brand.

In September 2005, after being named CEO of Google Israel, he was responsible for establishing the local headquarters of the multinational firm.

“When I received a phone call about an international internet company, I was curious,” recalled Brand, concerning his early days in the Israeli branch of the huge American-based company.

He explained that Google works very much like a startup: They throw you into the arena by yourself and tell you build a company, he said. And that is also the beauty of the company, because this process helps preserve the beauty and "youthfulness" of being a startup. Local branches – which are really large startups in and of themselves – thus pop up and go on to influence the industry, the web, the employees and especially the users in a positive way, Brand added.

In December 2009, Brand was appointed as a member of Google Europe’s management team, and also began to serve as regional manager for Google’s operations in Israel, Greece and Africa. In 2015 he became regional manager for Google in Israel, Russia, Turkey, the Middle East and Africa.

In practice, today Brand is in charge of Google’s operations in Russia, the Middle East and Africa – a huge region that has been experiencing major growth in terms of internet usage; the area encompasses 72 countries with a population of over 1.7 billion people.

In 2015, some 1 billion shekels ($260 million) was spent on internet advertising in Israel, according to data from the Ifat Media Analysis firm. Google’s various advertising platforms have held a dominant share of this market. These have included AdWords. on its search engine and mobile platforms; advertisements on YouTube, which leads the internet video industry; and a system for embedding ads in a huge number of websites, and streaming video banner ads as well.

Recently, Google has been under heavy attack in Israel, and elsewhere in the world, due to the very low level of taxes it pays on profits from local advertising.