This is a big blow to the troubled search engine – Monier was recruited away from Google a year ago, where he was working on advanced search products. Prior to Google he was the head of search at eBay and was the cofounder and CTO of AltaVista. He is widely considered to be one of the founding fathers of Internet search according to search experts Danny Sullivan, John Battelle and others.
Why did Monier leave? We’ve heard but haven’t confirmed that he and CEO Tom Costello just couldn’t agree on the Cuil product road map, and that the botched launch didn’t help things much either. Monier won’t return our calls, and we have an email in to Cuil for comment.
Update: Vince Sollitto, Cuil VP Communications, confirms Monier’s departure and says he will remain on board as a consultant, continuing to contribute and advise the company. “I’m told by Louis that he believes strongly in the goals and potential of the company, especially its technology,” Sollitto said, adding “We think this will be the best role for the company and for him going forward.” Sollitto says there were philosophical differences in approach and style between Monier and the other management, and that the new consulting role provides the best way for Louis to contribute to the company going forward.