Google’s George Salah to Become CEO at Smart Grid Startup

George Salah The Registry real estate

By Sharon Simonson

George Salah, long-time Google Inc. director of facilities, is leaving the company to become the chief executive of Apparent Inc., a Novato-based smart-grid and solar-energy startup.

Salah is well known in Silicon Valley commercial property circles for his near-obsessive preoccupation with creating healthy buildings on behalf of the Mountain View company’s elite workers. He is a particular advocate of transparency in building materials to root out the use of unwanted chemicals and has used Google’s heft and brand in the marketplace to try to force change.

He is a board member of the Healthy Building Network, a Washington, D.C., organization that is seeking to change the building-materials industry, and the International Living Futures Institute, which administers the Living Building Challenge, a standard for building construction and performance premised on environmental renewal.

Salah joined Google in 1999 when it had 35 employees in 4,000 square feet in Palo Alto. At mid-year, it had 44,777 employees worldwide, including thousands at and near its Mountain View headquarters and in San Francisco. Google’s global business interests produced revenue of more than $28 billion in the first half of the year—not quite double the same period of 2012—and net income of $6.57 billion, more than double the same six months the year before.

His departure comes as Google grapples with continuing business and employee growth and the strain of housing workers near its Mountain View headquarters in an already developed, densely populated and economically healthy region.

Apparent describes itself as a “clean-technology company [that] provides products and services to maximize the performance of renewable energy assets.” It claims its technology can help “to extract more energy from renewable sources and produce apparent energy (consisting of both real and reactive energy) as needed,” according to its Web site.

No one from Apparent could be reached for comment.

Google has struggled to build two planned campuses in Mountain View, putting both on temporary hold in recent months then executing a series of office lease transactions. The move to Apparent does not appear to represent a break in Salah’s relationship with Google.

Photo courtesy of USGBC NCC