Maybe the cold, dark Seattle winters are really getting to Brian Bershad. So, the 46-year-old has decided to take matters into his own hands and go to … Russia. The former University of Washington computer science professor, who has led Google’s fast-growing Seattle operations for the past four years, has accepted a new position at Google’s Russian engineering offices, GeekWire has learned.
Bershad passed a request for comment about his new gig to Google PR, which declined to comment. That lack of response led us to wonder — is Bershad getting the Siberia treatment from Google?
Our sources say no, pointing out that Bershad has held a deep love for the Russian language and culture for a number of years. When the opportunity arose for a temporary assignment in Russia, he jumped at it. Bershad has already been spending time in Russia, and plans to move there full-time for the new job soon.
Google operates two engineering offices in Russia, one in St. Petersburg and the other in Moscow. It is unclear which office Bershad will be working in and what technology products he’ll oversee.
The news of Bershad’s Russian assignment comes almost exactly four years after the former UW professor joined Google’s offices in Fremont.
It is unclear whether Google plans to replace Bershad with a new full-time site director in Seattle. One option is to have Scott Silver, who runs the Kirkland operation, also oversee Google Seattle, sources say.
Bershad earned his Ph.D. from the UW in 1990, going on to work at the university as a faculty member. He’s also been active in the Seattle startup community, helping to start Appliant and Skytap.
Google has been undergoing a significant growth spurt in the Seattle area in recent months, with the company expanding its Kirkland and Seattle operations and planning to add a new outpost in Bothell with room for as many as 840 workers. The company now employs more than 850 people in the region.