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YouTube’s global head of kids, family originals Craig Hunter exits in cutbacks

Craig Hunter, global head of kids and family originals for YouTube, is leaving the Google-owned platform as part of severe layoffs at the tech giant.

Craig Hunter

Hunter, who moved from London to LA to take on the role of global head of preschool at YouTube in 2021, was promoted to a role overseeing all kids and family content last year.

His arrival came after YouTube promised to put US$100m towards original children’s content between 2019 and 2022 as part of its efforts to protect kids and their privacy.

This led to the launch of originals such as Millie & Lou, Tab Time and The Workout Badges. More recently, the company premiered episodes of Jam Van, an original music series for preschool kids and families, and animated pop music anthology series Behind the Beats.

Hunter was previously director of kids’ networks for Sony Pictures Television in London, which he joined in 2012. Prior to that Hunter held roles at Nickelodeon, Disney and BBC Worldwide (now BBC Studios).

Google’s parent company Alphabet recently announced it would be cutting 12,000 jobs as it and some of its fellow tech giants rein in spending following the pandemic. Microsoft and Amazon announced similarly severe cuts in the same week.

“Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth. To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today,” Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in a letter to employees.

Pichai confirmed severance packages for US employees, who will receive at least 16 weeks of salary, their 2022 bonus, paid vacations and six months of health coverage.

Hunter said on LinkedIn: “Sad to share that I too am one of the 12,000 impacted by the Google layoffs. I’m heartbroken for my time there to end so abruptly.

“I’m proud beyond words to have led an incredible team and to have worked with so many brilliant people along the way. Not to mention all the impactful shows we made. It’s been a life changing experience for me. There is so much I’ll miss.

“Thank you to the many partners, prodcos, studios and creators from around the world that I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating and laughing with. I look forward to crossing paths again in the future.

“Strength to everyone else going through this difficult time. And to those who have issued words of encouragement and kindness to me and others – thank you!

“As I take time to figure out my next steps, please reach out if you know of openings to hire an experienced international senior leader. My wide range of experience covers all things creative, scripted and unscripted content, as well as business development and brand growth.”

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