Google is clearly one of the greatest technological advances of our time, not to mention one of the world’s most innovative business models, and David C. Drummond has been there almost from the beginning. Drummond, who received his B.A. in history from Santa Clara University, met Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998 at Stanford University, where he received his J.D., when Google was still in its incubator stage. Already a partner in the corporate transactions group at one of the nation’s leading law firms serving technology businesses, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, Drummond served as Google’s first outside counsel, helping to incorporate the business and secure initial financing.
Serving three years as the chief financial officer of SmartForce, an educational software applications company, starting in 1999, was a tremendous learning curve for Drummond, who officially joined Google in 2002 as vice president of corporate development. Two years later, Google announced its first initial public offering, making it a bona fide Wall Street player. As the company flourished, Drummond’s role became more pivotal and, in 2006, he was appointed senior vice president of corporate development. Later that same year, Drummond was also named chief legal officer.
In that capacity, Drummond manages Google’s legal, government relations, corporate development and new business development initiatives. The latter includes overseeing strategic partnerships and licensing opportunities. Interestingly, updating an age-old technology has proved to be among his biggest challenges. Google Book Search, the company’s effort to digitize books, mainly out-of-print and “orphaned” books, to make them more widely accessible, has evoked excitement from its supporters and criticism from its opponents. The legal ramifications are many and unprecedented. As a result, Drummond has been front and center, even testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on “Competition and Commerce in Digital Books” in September. He’s also met overseas with French and Italian governments.
Spreading his sphere of influence, he is a trustee at Santa Clara University, where he frequently agitated for diversity, and a member of the Dean’s Circle at Stanford. In addition, he regularly shares his expertise at domestic and international conferences.