Google Plus now minus chief Vic Gundotra

Prominent Google exec says farewell with post to social network he helped create.

Vic Gundotra, the man behind Google Plus and one of Google’s most prominent executives, announced today that he will leave the company “effective immediately.”

Gundotra made the announcement, appropriately enough, in a lengthy Google Plus post, praising his co-workers and saying that he is “excited about what’s next.” However, he did not further outline his future plans, saying that “this isn't the day to talk about that.”

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Rumors of Gundotra’s departure started to percolate after a post to the anonymous Secret bulletin board earlier in the week stated that he was interviewing for a new position, according to GigaOm.

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Gundotra will be replaced as senior vice president of engineering by Dave Bresbis, another long-time member of the Google Plus team.

A former Microsoft general manager, Gundotra came to Google in 2007, having worked in the older company’s developer outreach program. He is best known for being the prime mover behind Google Plus, the social media service that represents Google’s answer to Facebook and Twitter. Google Plus was generally well-received at its release, but its user base is still dwarfed by its rivals, making it unclear how much of a success the project has been.

Google CEO Larry Page credited Gundotra with more than Google Plus, however.

“When I first used turn-by-turn navigation, it blew me away.  And, walking onto the stage at I/O last year, it was amazing to see developers so excited about Google,” he wrote on Google Plus. “These were vintage Vic projects.”

Earlier this year, Gundotra’s was one of several names mooted as potential successors to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, whose job eventually went instead to Satya Nadella.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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