Vic Gundotra, who has championed Google+ since inception, is leaving Google. He confirmed the departure via his Google+ page, and CEO Larry Page further discussed the matter with Re/Code. Gundotra’s farewell touched on his passion, and finding what’s next. His departure is effective immediately.

It seems the genesis for Gundotra’s considering his departure was a tragic family accident, wherein his wife’s uncle was killed in an accident. A speech at the funeral touched on moving forward, and pushing on — words spoken from the heart. Gundotra hasn’t mentioned what led him to actually leave Google, but he was full of praise for everyone he’s worked with – and for.

Larry Page, speaking to Re/Code, said “Vic cut his teeth on our mobile apps and developer relations, turning Google’s disparate efforts into something great … And, walking onto the stage at I/O last year, it was amazing to see developers so excited about Google. These were vintage Vic projects. Then Vic built Google+ from nothing. There are few people with the courage and ability to start something like that and I am very grateful for all his hard work and passion.”

Who replaces Gundotra? Re/Code cites sources as saying it will be Dave Besbris, who is an exec currently working on Google+. Those who follow him online will know he’s an avid photographer who shares a lot of nature shots (easily the highlight of my Google+ stream). Besbris came to Google in 2008 after 10 years at AOL.

Vic Gundotra, in his Google+ announcement of departure, noted his now passed uncle would always start conversations with “and then?”. That’s how Vic leaves us, with a question of what’s next. Speaking personally, I’ve come to know Vic casually through various friends and colleagues. Always gracious, always kind, always a champion for what was next — the “and then” of Google, so to speak.

Update: GigaOM claims to have confirmed Dave Besbris is indeed taking over.

Source: Google+, Re/Code