Cobley has been UK MD since October 2011. He was previously head of marketing for Google in north and central Europe having joined the firm in 2006. Prior to that he worked in marketing roles for brands including Pepsi, Walkers and Capital One.
Cobley says: “After more than a two and a half years leading Google in the UK, I’m looking forward to the challenge of leading Google’s growing brand business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, helping businesses market their brands online.”
Last year, Google appointed its first president of brand solutions, hiring senior Procter & Gamble exec Kirk Perry. The move comes as it looks to convince brands to shift more of their ad spend away from TV and into digital.
Speaking on a recent results call, chief business officer Nikesh Arora said Google is “working really hard” with advertisers and large agency groups to help them conceive brand campaigns that “start and end in digital”, using TV as an extension medium, rather than the other way around.
Cobley will be replaced by Eileen Naughton, who joins the UK team from New York, where she was a global sales VP. She has been with Google since 2006 and previously was president of Time Magazine.
The UK is Google’s biggest market outside the US, accounting for $5.6bn in revenues in 2013, equal to a tenth of its global sales. That was a 16 per cent increase on the previous year but still its slowest growth rate for three years.