SAN FRANCISCO - YOUTUBE CEO Chad Hurley is surrendering the reins of the popular video website that he started with two buddies as a quirky curiosity and went on to groom into a media magnet that shows more than 2 billion clips a day.

The change in command announced Friday formalises a transition that has been unfolding over the past two years as YouTube's owner, Internet search leader Google Inc, asserted more control over the website.

Google dispatched one of its longtime employees, Salar Kamangar, to help Hurley steer YouTube in 2008. That move signalled Google's resolve to start making more money off its 2006 acquisition of YouTube for US$1.76 billion (S$2.28 billion). Mr Kamangar's expertise is in online advertising.

Since his arrival at YouTube's San Bruno headquarters, Mr Kamangar had been running the day-to-day operations while Mr Hurley concentrated on keeping the site's steadily growing audience happy.

Mr Kamangar now officially assumes the CEO's role while Mr Hurley, 33, remains available as a part-time adviser.

The transition will give Mr Hurley, a designer, more time to devote to another of his business ideas, the men's clothing line Hlaska.

YouTube CEO steps down