Google, which issued a high-profile promise in 2006 to hire 1,000 workers in Ann Arbor by 2011, is only one-quarter of the way to its initial goal, and the company is no longer discussing its hiring plans.
Google’s AdWords sales headquarters on Division Street in downtown Ann Arbor houses about 250 employees, said Mike Miller, Google’s new Ann Arbor leader.
But Miller, who is moving from California to Ann Arbor, declined to address the company’s hiring plans, saying only that Ann Arbor “remains a firm investment for Google.”
“As a company, we don’t comment on forward-looking” plans, Miller said. “For us it’s about continuing to grow the business. That will come as the economy grows and as Google and AdWords continue to grow.”
Google’s reluctance to discuss its hiring plans comes after former Google executive Grady Burnett suggested in January 2008 that the firmÂ would reach its goalÂ of hiring 1,000 workers by 2011. The company, enticed by up to $38 million in tax breaks spread out over 20 years,Â announced its Michigan investmentÂ in 2006.
Burnett departed Google two months ago to lead global online sales for social networking giant Facebook. Miller is a former Cisco Systems executive with 2.5 years of experience at Google.
The broad limbs of the economic crisis have dazed the historically secretive search engine giant, which earlier this year laid offÂ 200 sales employees in the U.S. as cost-cutting measures. The company has declined to discuss whether any Ann Arbor staffers were laid off.
In the second quarter, Google reported the lowest revenue growth in its history. But its financial results - including $1.48 billion in second-quarter profit - are still undoubtedly strong in light of the global economic downturn.
Miller said the company has “no plans” to leave its Ann Arbor offices at the McKinley Towne Centre, where the firm has space on several floors.
“It’s a great space for us. Obviously we’ve been able to customize it to get the quote unquote ‘Googly feel,’” Miller said. “It’s a challenging economy, but if you walk around the office, there’s a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and energy. We can have a tremendous impact on this area.”
Elizabeth Parkinson, director of marketing and public
relations for Ann Arbor SPARK, the region’s economic development organization, suggested
that companies often hire in “fits and starts,” not continuously. She said she
had no information about Google’s hiring plans but said “it’s also possible
they’ve adjusted based on business demand and market pressures.”
Google’s Ann Arbor office focuses almost exclusively on AdWords sales. Employees communicate regularly with new and existing AdWords clients to enhance their search engine marketing strategies. Miller said Google has some 10,000 Michigan clients, including all of the major car companies.
The company’s Birmingham office, which employs about 20, handles the Google's North American AdWords sales for auto customers.
Michelle Morris, Google's auto industry manager, said the car companies have leveraged AdWords to communicate directly with the public during the economic crisis.
“We’re committed to standing by them through the bankruptcies and beyond,” she said. “We’re very thrilled with their level of sophistication in the field. They’re constantly testing and getting back in and optimizing their campaigns based on what they tested.”
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