Amitabh Kumar "Amit" Singhal (born September 1968) is the former senior vice president of engineering at Uber, a position he took up in 2017, which he was asked to resign from shortly after alleged involvement in sexual harassment during his former job. He reported to CEO Travis Kalanick at Uber. Prior to this, he was senior vice president and software engineer at Google Inc.. He was a Google Fellow, and was the head of Google's core ranking team. He left Google on 26 February 2016 as the Head of Google Search.
Born in Jhansi, a city in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Singhal received a Bachelor of Engineering degree in computer science from IIT Roorkee in 1989. He continued his computer science education in the United States, and received an M.S. degree from University of Minnesota Duluth in 1991.
Singhal continued his studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and received a Ph.D. degree in 1996. At Cornell, Singhal studied with Gerard Salton, a pioneer in the field of information retrieval, the academic discipline which forms the foundation of modern search. John Battelle, in his book "The Search" calls Gerard Salton "the father of digital search." He got interested in the problem of search in 1990 at the University of Minnesota Duluth. After getting a Ph.D. in 1996, Singhal joined AT&T Labs (previously a part of Bell Labs), where he continued his research in information retrieval, speech retrieval and other related fields.
In 2000, he was recruited by friend Krishna Bharat to join Google. Singhal ran Google's core search quality department where he and his team were responsible for the Google search algorithms. According to New York Times, Singhal was the "master" of Google's ranking algorithm — the formulas that decide which Web pages best answer each user's question. As a reward for his rewrite of the search engine in 2001, Singhal was named a "Google Fellow". Singhal served as the head of Google's core search ranking team until his retirement announced on 26 February 2016. It would later transpire that Singhal's departure from Google had occurred after a sexual harassment complaint against him, that an internal review had found "credible".
In 2017, he joined Uber as SVP of Engineering, reporting to CEO Travis Kalanick, and with his fellow Google alum Kevin Thompson operating as SVP of marketplace engineering. He was asked to leave in February 2017 after it emerged that he had not disclosed to Uber the sexual harassment complaint against him that had been responsible for him leaving Google. Singhal's departure from Uber came at a time when Uber was receiving criticism and media attention after allegations by former employee Susan Fowler of a dysfunctional culture of sexual harassment at the company.
Fortune named Singhal one of the smartest people in tech.
He was elected Member of the National Academy of Engineering.
He writes about the University of Minnesota Duluth:
UMD was the turning point in my life. Studying Information Retrieval with Don Crouch and then Don recommending that I move to Cornell to study with Gerard Salton, is the main reason behind my success today. Don gave me the love for search, I have just followed my passion ever since.— Amit Singhal