Schmidt Steps Down as Chair of Google Parent Alphabet

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (CN) – The executive chairman of Google parent Alphabet said Thursday he will transition away from his leadership role at the company and take on a more technically oriented job.

Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google and current chairman of Alphabet’s board, will become a technical adviser to the company while continuing to serve on its board.

“Larry, Sergey, Sundar and I all believe that the time is right in Alphabet’s evolution for this transition,” Schmidt said in a Thursday release.  “The Alphabet structure is working well, and Google and the Other Bets are thriving. In recent years, I’ve been spending a lot of my time on science and technology issues, and philanthropy, and I plan to expand that work.”

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, recruited Schmidt to run their company in 2001. He served as its CEO for 10 years, before sliding to his current role as executive chairman in 2011.

“Since 2001, Eric has provided us with business and engineering expertise and a clear vision about the future of technology,” said Page, who currently serves as the CEO of Alphabet. “Continuing his 17 years of service to the company, he’ll now be helping us as a technical adviser on science and technology issues.”

Page and Brin started Google in 1996, as a research project at Stanford University. Noticing that most search engines were clunky in how they delivered requested information, the founders developed an algorithm meant to emphasize the relationship between web pages.

After Schmidt took the helm in 2001, the company grew until its initial public offering in 2004. The sale of nearly 20 million shares gave the company a market capitalization of $22 billion. It now boasts a market cap of around $100 billion, making it one of the largest and most powerful companies in the world.

Page and Brin have said they join Apple and Microsoft as major technology companies by choosing to forgo an executive chairman.

 

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