Google said Wednesday it was launching a reorganization of its European operations in the face of a tougher regulatory environment.
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The overhaul was first reported by the Financial Times, citing Matt Brittin, an executive who will head a new unit unifying two separate European divisions.
Google s press office confirmed the reorganization in an email to AFP without elaborating. Sources familiar with the reorganization said it was aimed at simplifying Google s structure in Europe and responding better to customers and policymakers in the region. The move comes with Google under pressure in Europe on compliance with rules giving residents a “right to be forgotten,” which requires the online giant to remove certain information in search queries. Google is also facing a four-year-old antitrust investigation by EU officials and efforts by some EU countries to impose taxes on profits that are shifted to low-tax jurisdictions. Amid complaints from news organizations which claimed the US firm was eating away at online revenues, Google shut its popular online news service in Spain in protest at a law which would make it pay for content.
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The British government in December slapped a new tax rate on multinational companies that seek to avoid paying their fair share to Treasury coffers. The levy — nicknamed the Google tax because of the high number of technology firms seeking to avoid tax — will come into force in April. Brittin was quoted as saying the changes were also a response to competitive pressures, particularly from Silicon Valley rivals. “Just talking with publishers the other day, many get most of their traffic from Facebook or Twitter, not from Google,” he told the FT. Brittin, who headed the northern and western European operations for Google, will take over a new unit that includes the company s southern and eastern European division. He will be based in London.