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French startup Qwant, whose non-tracking search engine has been gaining traction in its home market as a privacy-respecting alternative to Google, has made a change to its senior leadership team as it gears up for the next phase of growth.
Former Mozilla Europe president, Tristan Nitot, who joined Qwant last year as VP of advocacy, has been promoted to chief executive, taking over from François Messager — who also joined in 2018 but is now leaving the business. Qwant co-founder, Eric Leandri, meanwhile, continues in the same role as president.
Nitot - Internet - Veteran - Netscape - Mozilla
Nitot, an Internet veteran who worked at Netscape and helped to found Mozilla Europe in 1998, where he later served as president and stayed until 2015 before leaving to write a book on surveillance, brings a wealth of experience in product and comms roles, as well as open source.
Most recently he spent several years working for personal cloud startup, Cozy Cloud.
Leandri - Company - Structure - Company - Nitot
“I’m basically here to help [Leandri] grow the company and structure the company,” Nitot tells TechCrunch, describing Qwant’s founder as an “amazing entrepreneur, audacious and visionary”.
Market headwinds have been improving for the privacy-focused Google rival in recent years as concern about foreign data-mining tech giants has stepped up in Europe.
Year - Government - Search - Default - Google
Last year the French government announced it would be switching its search default from Google to Qwant. Buying homegrown digital tech now apparently seen as a savvy product choice as well as good politics.
Meanwhile antitrust attention on dominant search giant Google, both at home and abroad, has led to policy shifts that directly benefit search rivals — such as an update of the default lists baked into its chromium engine which was quietly put out earlier this year.
Lot - Companies - Institutions - Search - Engine
“A lot of companies and institutions have decided and have realized basically that they’ve been using a search engine which is not European. Which collects data....
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