Google CEO Steps Down
Google chief executive officer Eric Schmidt has stepped down from his post atop the search engine world and will be replaced by the company's co-founder, Larry Page. Schmidt won't be leaving the company, however, and is set to become its executive chairman.
Google CEO Shuffle to Streamline Decision Making
According to Google, the changes are intended to "streamline decision making and create clearer lines of responsibility at the top of the company."
The 55-year-old Schmidt has been with Google since 2001. In his new post he'll focus more on making business deals and partnerships with the company's customers.
Schmidt's tenure as CEO will be best remembered as one where a popular search engine also became a highly profitable advertising business. Prior to his arrival, there were questions as to how Google could monetize its assets as well as become the world's search engine leader. Schmidt was also at the helm when Google went public in 2004. (Source: bloomberg.com)
Google Business Management Complicated
"As Google has grown, managing the business has become more complicated," Schmidt said in a recent statement. "[We] decided now was the right moment to make some changes to the way we are structured." (Source: washingtonpost.com)
Larry Page, who will take over Schmidt's post in early April, 2011, has never been a CEO. He'll have little time to get his bearings atop a company of 24,000 employees.
Analysts Surprised, but Not Concerned
Analysts admit they're startled by the move, though it seems Page's extensive experience with the company means they aren't particularly concerned. Schmidt's plan to continue on in a lesser role also means he'll be close by to offer guidance for the new CEO.
"It's a surprise to see this leadership change, although at first blush it doesn't look like a big change with Eric staying on," said Benchmark Co. analyst Clayton Moran.
These are good times for Google, which posted better-than-expected profits last quarter. Net income rose 29 per cent last year, to $2.54 billion. Profit has been pegged at $8.75 a share, higher than the $8.08 predicted by analysts at Bloomberg. Sales were also higher than estimates at $6.37 billion rather than $6.06 billion.