Venkat Panchapakesan, a Google VP who led engineering for YouTube, died on Monday evening. He was battling cancer.
Panchapakesan spent over a decade at Yahoo, where he worked on several products and spent time leading a research and development center in his native India. He left Yahoo in 2009. After a stint as entrepreneur in residence at Greylock Partners, he joined Google the following year. In June,he joined for YouTube as head of engineering, reporting to the video site’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki.
Colleagues and friends described him as warm, giving and fiercely loyal.
“Venkat was a deeply admired leader of our engineering team and we are extremely saddened by his passing,” Wojcicki said in a statement. “He was loved by the people who worked with him and will be missed by everyone who knew him. Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.”
Anand Chandrasekaran, the chief product officer for Airtel and Panchapakesan’s cousin, described him as a “hero to many.” Sharad Sharma, a former senior VP at Yahoo India, said his former colleague was “sharp yet humble,” with a demanding work ethic and “childlike zest.”
In an email to Sharma in February about his illness, Panchapakesan wrote: “I am handling it with the same positive spirit that I do anything else.”
Panchapakesan is survived by his wife Sandy and two children.