Google’s New Sales Chief Woodside an Unknown

NEW YORK Google has wasted no time replacing outgoing sales chief Tim Armstrong.

The company announced late Tuesday that Dennis Woodside, a five-year Google veteran who most recently led the company’s sales operations in the U.K., Ireland and Benelux, has been named vp of Google’s Americas operations, according to various published reports.

Woodside (shown at right) will report to Omid Kordestani, svp, global sales and business development.

Last week Armstrong shocked many in the digital industry when he announced he was leaving Google next month to become the new chairman and CEO of AOL. As the longtime face of Google before Madison Avenue, Armstrong leaves a major void — one that Google clearly felt it needed to fill swiftly.

Because he’s spent the entirety of his Google tenure in Europe, Woodside is not well known among digital buyers in the U.S. Bryan Wiener, CEO 360i, said that it would be crucial for Woodside to focus on building relationships and providing agencies with assurances that Google understands their unique concerns. “Tim [Armstrong] was a great guy and a known advocate for the advertising side of the business at Google,” he said. “It’s going to be important for Woodside to come in and develop relationships and give some confidence that he’s going to be fighting the good fight.”

It will also be important that Woodside retain Google’s top sales talent, added Wiener, particularly as the company has only recently begun making inroads into the display and video side of the online ad businesses — segments where Google’s product and engineering brilliance doesn’t always come into play. “There is a great challenge and opportunity there [for Woodside],” he said. “But packaging [search and display and/or video] is not a self-service platform. It’s a sales and marketing effort.”