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Verily Life Sciences, Alphabet’s offshot initiative loses its mental health project boss

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Google parent Alphabet is today adding another name, Dr. Thomas Insel, to the kitty of senior-level executive exits from the company over the past whole year or so. Insel, who was considered one of the most high-profile hires for the company’s offshot initiative called Verily Life Sciences, has now departed the company.

The neuroscientist and former head of the National Institute of Mental Health was appointed as the leader of Verily’s projects in the mental health field back in December 2015. At the company, he was spearheading an initiative to create new technologies to combat depression and anxiety. He conducted in-depth user studies to focus on providing us, the humans greater access to a human-centered care experience.

An official Verily blog post has confirmed his departure from the company but no exact reason have been provided for the same. Speaking on the same, the blog post writes:

We are bidding a fond farewell to Dr. Thomas Insel, who has helped shape our vision and to build a multidisciplinary team of mental health clinical researchers, data scientists, product designers, and software engineers.

The healthcare projects being undertaken by Verily won’t be affected by his departure, confirms a spokesperson to CNBC. Instead, it mentions that Insel has brought together an extremely talented and passionate bunch of people. The teams at Verily Life Sciences are committed to rethinking the way humankind approaches diagnosis and treatment of several disorders.

It will also rigorously continue to work on the mental health front, which has an untapped potential of digital measurement. They are presently developing a next generation measurement-based care platform for detection and treatment of mental illnesses.

Prior to Insel, Google has lost several of its key executives to this competitive market and timeliness of opportunities. Tony Fadell, the founder and CEO of Nest quit due to technology problems and complaints about his management style. He recently joined auto parts supplier Magna to help them make inroads into the tech world — connected mobility it is! Google Ventures’ (GV) founder Bill Marris has also departed the company after an eight-year-long stint to tackle his new ideas.

Craig Barratt and Chris Urmson, the chief executives of both Google Fiber and its spin-off self-driving division — Waymo also departed the company earlier last year. We can understand the former’s decision to leave his post (extremely slow deployment) but Urmson did surprise everyone with his departure. He has now started his own self-driving initiative with former Tesla Autopilot executive Sterling Anderson called Aurora Innovation.

Several other executives, as well as employees, have moved out of the Mountain View-based giant in search of better opportunities. It has become a rather competitive environment in Silicon Valley, where tech giants are regularly poaching talent from one another. If you take a look at most self-driving divisions in the West, it would mostly include researchers from Google, Tesla, BlackBerry’s QNX, and other prominent names in the field — Uber.

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