Google Inc., which won U.S. approval for its acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., is close to naming Dennis Woodside to run the business when the deal closes, three people familiar with the matter said.
Woodside, who led Google's ad sales in the Americas before leaving that job to oversee the merger, would succeed Motorola Mobility Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Jha, said the people, who declined to be named because the decision isn't public. Woodside emerged as a favorite from a short list that included Christy Wyatt, Motorola Mobility senior vice president, and Chief Strategy Officer John Bucher, one person said.
Google is buying Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, gaining a trove of more than 17,000 patents that will help it fend off legal challenges to its Android mobile-phone software. As part of his role leading the transition, Woodside reported to CEO Larry Page and Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette. Woodside took over as president of the Americas region in 2009 when Tim Armstrong left Google to become CEO of AOL Inc.
Jill Hazelbaker, a spokeswoman for Mountain View, California-based Google, said the company doesn't comment on rumor or speculation. The acquisition hasn't closed, she said.
Jennifer Erickson, a spokeswoman for Libertyville, Illinois-based Motorola Mobility, also declined to comment.
"We're focused on running the business and getting the deal closed and wouldn't comment beyond that on executive changes," she said.
Google fell less than 1 percent to $605.67 at 12:42 p.m. in New York. Motorola Mobility was little changed at $39.72.
Earlier this month, U.S. and European Union signed off on the plan to purchase Motorola Mobility. Google still needs approval from China for the deal to be completed.