Chee Chew, who led Google’s operations in the Seattle region as a vice president of engineering, has been hired by Amazon as vice president of customer engagement, according to his newly updated LinkedIn profile.
His departure comes as Google expands significantly in the Seattle area with plans to double the size of its campus in Kirkland. The company’s Seattle-area operations, split between Fremont and Kirkland, already represent one of Google’s largest engineering outposts outside of the company’s Mountain View headquarters, with more than 1,000 employees.
Chew, who was a longtime Microsoft general manager before joining Google in 2007, got Google+ Hangouts off the ground and played a key role in products including Chromecast and Chrome during his tenure with the search giant, according to his profile.
In a post to his Google+ page on Nov. 26, he wrote about his planned departure.
“i look at hangouts as my family; the team here at google and all of you. and although my heart tells me to stay, i know it’s time for me to try a new challenge outside of google. with very bittersweet emotions, right after the thanksgiving break i’m starting a new adventure. the thing that gives me most comfort, that lets me move on with a confidence, is the strength of the team here at google.”
He also posted a picture of this sign that his Google co-workers put on the door to prank him before he left the company.
We’ve contacted Google to see if the company has filled Chew’s role as Seattle-area site leader, and we’ve asked Amazon for more information on his new role there.
Update: Google says the new Kirkland site leader is Peter Wilson, one of the original Google Kirkland team members, who returned to the company last year. Clyde McQueen is the site leader for the Seattle office.