Alphabet President Eric Schmidt spoke. Schmidt was one of Google’s oldest employees when he joined the company in 2001 and has held various roles in the company ever since. He served as CEO of Google for 10 years before becoming its chairman in 2011. When Alphabet, now Google’s parent company, was formed, he became its chairman. On Friday, Alphabet announced that “Schmidt will step down as executive chairman to become the company’s technical advisor while remaining on the board.”
“Since 2001, Eric has provided us with expertise and technical knowledge and a clear vision for the future of technology,” said Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet. “He has continued to serve the company at the age of 17 and is now assisting us as a technical consultant on scientific and technological issues.”
In his press release, Schmidt said Alphabet’s current leaders were very good and it was time to do something else. Larry, Sergey, Sundar, and I all believe that the time is right to develop the alphabet for this transition. “The structure of Alphabet is working very well and Google and other bets are improving,” Schmidt said. He said: “In recent years, I have spent a lot of time on scientific and technological issues and philanthropy, and I plan to expand this work.”
Alphabet said on Friday that it expects the board to find a new non-executive chairman soon.
After joining in 2001, Schmidt became CEO and remained in this role for 10 years. He would take care of Google’s business while the company’s founders—Sergey and Larry—focused on the engineering side and worked on creating products that are used by billions of people today. That changed in 2011 when Larry Page also became CEO and Schmidt became chairman of the board and company.
After the change of CEO, Schmidt had an eccentric look on Twitter. “There is no need for daily adult supervision,” he wrote on Twitter. A tweet is a reference to a time when it was hired by Google 17 years ago. When he joined Google after being hired by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who were young and in their twenties, reports revealed that Schmidt, a seasoned business manager, had been called in for day-to-day management.
In recent decades—and largely because of his position as head of Google—Schmidt has become one of the most important people in Silicon Valley. He served on Apple’s board of directors for about 3 years but resigned after Google entered the phone market and competed with Apple. Although Schmidt is considered an experienced business leader, he has also been the subject of several disputes. He is probably one of the key figures in helping large Silicon Valley companies such as Intel, Google, and Apple enter into an informal acquisition agreement. He has also made several controversial statements about online privacy and what Google does with user data.