Google's Egyptian protest hero plans to quit and form NGO

Posted by Emma Woollacott

The Google executive who was so instrumental in the protests that led to the overthrow of the Egyptian government has said he plans to leave the company to set up his own Non-Governmental-Organization (NGO).

"Decided to take a long term sabbatical from @Google & start a technology focused NGO to help fight poverty & foster education in #Egypt," says Wael Ghonim in a tweet.

Head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, Ghonim was the administrator for Facebook page "We are all Khaled Saeed", which formed a focus of the protests. He was arrested and held by the Egyptian police for 11 days, and was acclaimed as a hero.

More recently, he's been focusing his attention on other countries in the region, particularly Syria, over which he's calling for a one-day global protest.

Google hasn't commented on the move, but one suspects it'll be happy enough to keep a post open for Ghonim. When Ghonim emerged from his detention in February, the company tweeted: "We’re incredibly proud of you, @Ghonim, & of course will welcome you back when you’re ready."

Last week, the 30-year-old was included on Time's list of the most 100 influential people in the world; it should help when it comes to the fundraising.