Taxing times for Google's Chairman as UK tabloid lists his 'exotic lovers'

Taxing times for Google's Chairman as UK tabloid lists his 'exotic lovers'

Summary: Google's pursuit of aggressive tax savings is a costly strategy...

TOPICS: Google
Eric Schmidt at Burningman
Eric Schmidt at Burningman from MailOnline story.


Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, recently made a flip comment in the UK in response to news that the tech giant paid just $16m in taxes on $18.5 billion in UK revenues.

Google's Eric Schmidt: change British law and we'd pay more tax.

He said he had a fiduciary duty to his shareholders to pay as little overseas tax as legally possible.

The British hate paying taxes but consider it a social duty for the upkeep of their communities – and everyone is expected to pitch in and pay their fair share. Not understanding the culture, Mr. Schmidt's Ayn Rand-ish comments seemed better suited for Silicon Valley, and did not sit well with the British public. Which now makes him fair game for British newspapers.

Some of the attention has been tame: Ed Hammond, at the Financial Times, wryly noted that Mr. Schmidt, "Is searching for a London mansion – a prospective £30m purchase that would land him a higher tax bill than the internet group has paid on average in the UK in recent years."

The tabloid newspaper, the Daily Mail, which runs the world's largest news site, went much further. It published a lengthy, raunchy, unflattering account of Mr. Schmidt's sex life, complete with photos of "his string of exotic lovers.

Caroline Graham reported:

The unlikely sex symbol with thinning hair and pockmarked skin has embarked on a string of affairs with younger women, including a vivacious TV presenter who dubbed him ‘Dr Strangelove’, a leggy blonde public relations executive and a sexy Vietnamese concert pianist.

The headline pulled no punches:

The £5.4billion Google love rat: How boss, 58, of internet giant resisting online porn crackdown has a string of exotic lovers in his 'open marriage'... but DOESN'T want you to know about it

He is the billionaire Google boss under fire for encouraging the company to ‘avoid’ paying massive corporation tax in the UK and for not doing enough to protect children from internet porn.

The reporter Googled much of the information in the story from other newspapers and US web sites such as Gawker. But she did try to take the story further by contacting his wife about their open marriage, and others close to Mr. Schmidt.

It's clear that Google's use of controversial methods in minimizing corporate taxes is starting to backfire. The tax savings will have to be weighed against the costly damage to its brand, and not just in the UK. Not to mention the costs of the salacious attention to Mr. Schmidt's personal brand. 

UK tabloids might decide to focus on founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, next. Maybe even send their paparazzi to their annual executive retreat at Burning Man, which would be a massive buzzkill.  

Google has to turn around public opinion quickly or the ongoing brand damage will become ever more costly. It has a fiduciary duty to its shareholders.

- - -

It's understandable why he wants a delete button... Google's Schmidt: The Internet needs a delete button | Internet & Media - CNET News


Eric Schmidt's animated personal life from Taiwan's NMA.TV.

Topic: Google

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Scandalmongering

    As reprehensible as his private conduct might be, it's not at all relevant to Google's operations or its policies with regard to tax avoidance. Mr. Page is nowhere near the first womanizer to head a major corporation and it is highly unlikely that he will be the last.

    As long as he does not allow that aspect of his life to affect his conduct as the head of Google, it's not relevant to the story; and efforts by journalists to publicize it for what amount to political reasons are inappropriate.
    John L. Ries
    • Apparently, I misread the article

      So it's Schmidt, not Page (my apologies to the latter), but the same principle holds: Scandalmongering is unacceptable.
      John L. Ries
  • Not enough tech news for

    ZdNet bloggers to report on these days, I guess....
  • Most British people

    I speak don't like the fact that Google, Apple et al don't pay enough taxes, but they all lay the blame largely at the foot of the government.

    They realise that these companies are paying what they have to and it is up to the government to close any loopholes.
  • And then some ...

    Cameron is thinking of asking each household whether they wish to opt in or out of a porn block. When I get my letter I'm going to opt for:

    - reclaiming unpaid taxes from ALL American corporations, including 10-15 years retrospectively

    - reclaiming my privacy from all Government surveillance

    - reclaiming my privacy from advertising intrusions (mandatory DO NOT BLOCK and AD ELIMINATION) in software and large fines for infractions

    - reclaiming money from banking deceit

    Those will be my conditions for continued trade negotiations with America.

    After that I might consider not being a w****r, if he will do the same.

    I shall point out that the UK Government has " a fudiciary duty to protect the public from corrupt American corporate malpractices".
  • Schmidt Has Been Murdocked

    Pay us or we will smear you. Smear as they will, British Government Allies have no power over Google. Schmidt's day to day power in Google has waned.
  • Please zdNet

    I make enough effort avoiding any Daily Mail Article or view, and don't need to come to a tech news site and told about old Eric's personal life.

    It's his life!!!!!!!! He's not breaking any laws, stop reporting tatt!!!!!!!!!

    Well said. I run my own SMB, I minimize my tax liability as much as possible, WITH THE LAW.
    As does Google and all. To the government to change the Law, no-one pays more than required because the recession has hit, and now the old PM (and the Daily Bloody Mail) thinks it's morally wrong.