Google CEO Eric Schmidt stepping down

Co-founder Larry Page will be taking on the CEO post effective April 4, with Schmidt concentrating on the executive chairman role.
January 20, 2011

Google announced that effective April 4, its CEO Eric Schmidt will be stepping down and co-founder and president of products Larry Page will be taking his place, with Schmidt focusing on executive chairman duties.

“For the last 10 years, we have all been equally involved in making decisions,” wrote Schmidt in the Google company blog, referring to himself, Page and Google co-founder Sergey Brin. “This triumvirate approach has real benefits in terms of shared wisdom, and we will continue to discuss the big decisions among the three of us. But we have also agreed to clarify our individual roles so there’s clear responsibility and accountability at the top of the company.

“Larry will now lead product development and technology strategy, his greatest strengths, and starting from April 4 he will take charge of our day-to-day operations as Google’s Chief Executive Officer,” he continued. “In this new role I know he will merge Google’s technology and business vision brilliantly. I am enormously proud of my last decade as CEO, and I am certain that the next 10 years under Larry will be even better! Larry, in my clear opinion, is ready to lead.”

Brin will, under the title of co-founder, “devote his time and energy to strategic projects, in particular working on new products.” Schmidt, as executive chairman, will work “externally, on the deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership that are increasingly important given Google’s global reach; and internally as an advisor to Larry and Sergey.”

Schmidt joined the company’s board of directors in March of 2001 following his stint as CEO of Novell. He was named Google CEO in August of 2001.

The announcement was initially made during the announcement of Google’s fourth quarter financial results. 

“Eric has clearly done an outstanding job leading Google for the last decade,” said Page via a statement. “The results speak for themselves. There is no other CEO in the world that could have kept such headstrong founders so deeply involved and still run the business so brilliantly. Eric is a tremendous leader and I have learned innumerable lessons from him. His advice and efforts will be invaluable to me as I start in this new role. Google still has such incredible opportunity – we are only at the beginning and I can’t wait to get started.”

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Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.