Today is the day that Google co-founder Larry Page takes over as CEO of the company, while outgoing CEO Eric Schmidt becomes Executive Chairman. The leadership changes were announced along with Google’s fourth quarter earnings a few months ago.
While the change has yet to be acknowledged in any company announcements today, April 4 was indeed set as the date (and the executive bios have been changed). Let’s revisit some of what Google had to say about back then. Schmidt wrote on the official Google Blog:
For the last 10 years, we have all been equally involved in making decisions. This triumvirate approach has real benefits in terms of shared wisdom, and we will continue to discuss the big decisions among the three of us. But we have also agreed to clarify our individual roles so there’s clear responsibility and accountability at the top of the company.
Larry will now lead product development and technology strategy, his greatest strengths, and starting from April 4 he will take charge of our day-to-day operations as Google’s Chief Executive Officer. In this new role I know he will merge Google’s technology and business vision brilliantly. I am enormously proud of my last decade as CEO, and I am certain that the next 10 years under Larry will be even better! Larry, in my clear opinion, is ready to lead.
As Executive Chairman, I will focus wherever I can add the greatest value: externally, on the deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership that are increasingly important given Google’s global reach; and internally as an advisor to Larry and Sergey.
Co-founder Sergey Brin said in a conference call that he was looking forward to working with both Page and Schmidt for “many more decades” implying that the position changes did not mean that Schmidt would be gone.
Schmidt also said that the three anticipate “working together for a long time to come.”
Some think Page’s taking over of the CEO position will lead to Google getting back to its roots, in terms of operating more like it did in its startup days, as opposed to operating like a typical corporate giant, although there are certainly still plenty of things about Google that aren’t typical – from the company’s annual, elaborate April Fools gags to its work with bees, lawn mowing goats, self-driving cars, etc.
The truth is that nobody really knows exactly what to expect from Google going forward. There have been no signs that the company will slow down in its acquisitions. It will be quite interesting to see if the company’s strategies change in a noticeable way. Will Consumer Watchdog start making videos of Page playing the role of creepy ice cream man?