Wael Ghonim to leave Google, start NGO in Egypt

wael ghonimWael Ghonim has said Egyptian state security kept him detained and blindfolded for nearly two weeks. By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Wael Ghonim, a Google executive who shot to international prominence after being detained for 10 days in Egypt, is leaving the search company to start his own venture.

Ghonim tweeted on Saturday: "Decided to take a long term sabbatical from @Google & start a technology focused NGO to help fight poverty & foster education in #Egypt"

As protests broke out in January on the Egyptian streets over the rule of then-president Hosni Mubarak, Ghonim fired off a steady stream of messages to Twitter and Facebook about the uprising. He also worked behind the scenes to galvanize the uprising.

"The plan was to get everyone on the street," he told CNN's Ivan Watson in an interview after his release. "This is the Internet revolution. I'll call it revolution 2.0."

Ghonim's sudden disappearance had his friends and family -- and, soon, the whole world -- fearing for his safety. Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) posted many tweets in his support, and assured Ghonim that his job with the company would be there when we was ready to return.

Soon after his release, Ghonim tweeted a "thank you" to Google for its aid: "Thanks @Google for all the efforts you did in 'searching' for me. Today 'I'm feeling lucky' that I work for this company."

Though he tweeted "Please don't make me the face of this revolution," Ghonim became a symbol of the uprising after his disappearance. He was named last week to Time magazine's 100 most influential people of the year. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,031.18 -8.31 -0.05%
Nasdaq 4,544.51 12.41 0.27%
S&P 500 1,991.34 -1.03 -0.05%
Treasuries 2.41 0.00 0.12%
Data as of 12:25pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.16 0.00 0.03%
Apple Inc 101.30 0.72 0.72%
Salesforce.com Inc 60.19 4.48 8.04%
Citigroup Inc 51.01 -0.06 -0.12%
Facebook Inc 74.43 -0.14 -0.19%
Data as of 12:10pm ET

Sections

The Secret app is supposed to keep you anonymous. But until last week, it was possible to trace posts directly to you. More

This month, Delaware became the first state to pass a law giving heirs the right to access the online accounts and assets of someone who has passed away. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.