Google's top lobbyist to depart search giant

Google confirmed Monday evening that director of public policy will leave the search giant after six and a half years.

Alan Davidson notified employees of his decision via email on Monday. A spokesman said he plans on taking some time off to decide what comes next.

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"In 2005, I joined Google in Washington to build a first-rate Internet policy group. It's been a remarkable experience - and a very exciting and intense time -- but I'm ready for a new challenge," Davidson wrote in the email.

"After six and half years, I've decided it's the right moment for me to leave my current role at the company. Starting later this month, I will be taking a sabbatical to explore other opportunities."

There is no plan to name an immediate replacement, but the spokesman said Google has "a deep bench of managers" capable of taking over Davidson's duties. Davidson has been with Google since 2005 when he became the firm's first employee in Washington.

Davidson's departure comes at a time when Google faces increasing scrutiny including an antitrust probe by the Federal Trade Commission. The firm has significantly stepped up its lobbying in recent years, particularly in response to the FTC's subpoena.

Davidson's announcement was first reported by National Journal.