In its earnings release today, Google announced a major shift to the executive ranks, calling it a way to "streamline decision making and create clearer lines of responsibility and accountability at the top of the company."
Here are the details:
- Starting April 4, co-founder Larry Page, becomes CEO and takes over day-to-day operations.
- Co-founder Sergey Brin will focus on strategic projects, specifically, new products.
- Eric Schmidt becomes Executive Chairman and will focus externally on "deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership--all of which are increasingly important given Google's global reach."
- Internally, Schmidt will continue to act as an advisor to Larry and Sergey.
On a call with analysts this afternoon, Schmidt, Page and Brin offered their thoughts on the movement for analysts. In their remarks, they praised each other's work and stressed that the change shouldn't result in any major changes to the company's overall strategy. Schmidt said the new structure approved by the board involved "elevating" him and moving Larry into the day-to-day while Sergey will focus on new products.
About Larry, Schmidt said:
I want to say very clearly that I believe Larry is ready. He has been working on this area for a long time. His ideas are very interesting and clever, and it is time for him to have a shot at running this and doing it, and I'm sure he will do a fantastic job.
Schmidt called their partnership "wonderful" and said he is sure that it will continue. He continued:
We are friends. We are coworkers. We are computer scientists. We have a common vision.
We've been talking about how best to simplify our management structure and speed up decision making for a long time. By clarifying our individual roles we'll create clearer responsibility and accountability at the top of the company. In my clear opinion, Larry is ready to lead and I'm excited about working with both him and Sergey for a long time to come.
In his own statement, Page said:
Eric has clearly done an outstanding job leading Google for the last decade. 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.
The company added more in a Schmidt blog post with the headline "An update from the chairman."