Ex-Google Boss Eric Schmidt Exits as Alphabet Executive Chairman

Mitch Wagner

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is out as executive chairman of parent company Alphabet, the company said Thursday. He'll stay on as a technical advisor while continuing to serve as a director.

The change will be effective with the Alphabet Inc. board's next regular meeting in January. Schmidt will stay on to advise on science and technology issues, according to a statement from Alphabet.

"Larry, Sergey, Sundar and I all believe that the time is right in Alphabet's evolution for this transition. The Alphabet structure is working well, and Google and the Other Bets are thriving," Schmidt said in the Alphabet statement, referencing Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin, as well as Google CEO Sundar Pichai. "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."

Schmidt tweeted his decision at 2:15 p.m. PT on Thursday.

Google at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, 2017.
Google at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, 2017.

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Schmidt served with Google and its successor, Alphabet, for 17 years. He was Google's CEO from 2001 to 2011, overseeing the company's 2004 IPO and meteoric rise. He was brought in as a seasoned executive who could provide "adult supervision" to Google's still-boyish founders, Page and Brin.

Schmidt's changing role reflects changes in Washington, D.C. Schmidt was close to President Barack Obama and gave money and technical support to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, notes The New York Times.

Alphabet will pick a non-executive chairman to replace Schmidt, the company said.

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12/31/2017 | 10:19:32 PM
Re: exit
That's not a short stay, for sure! I didn't realize he'd been there for so long. It seems strange that he'll be gone now. It's kinda like Gates leaving Microsoft.
12/30/2017 | 4:14:17 PM
Re: exit
Although the public may not know any real reasons for moving on, he certainly put enough years in at Google, 17 being a pretty good number in the tech industry for longevity. And he's certainly not going to be in the poor house but his rewards over the years can now prsumably be shared with others through the planned philanthropy efforts.
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12/27/2017 | 8:58:03 PM
Re: exit
Daniel don't think we will ever know the truth--so many of these moves have so many political implications it's like a classified CIA document. There are lots of reasons for moves some justified and some not so justified.
12/27/2017 | 5:28:00 PM
Re: exit
Seems like one of those scenarios where the real truth isn't totally known. Why else would Schmidt step down? Executive Chairman isn't a full-time job. 
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12/26/2017 | 12:33:16 PM
Re: exit
Ariella yes the details the truth is never really known in these cases but the speculation is always interesting!
12/25/2017 | 10:43:46 AM
Re: exit
@maryam that is a possibility. Likely we'll never know the full story because of nondisclosure agreements.
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12/22/2017 | 11:19:31 PM
Re: exit
The CEO choice and departure is always a sticky business unless its a planned retirement. The relationship with constituents throughout the organization can fuel the departure of the individual themselves may decide to move on to a better opportunity. It seems like this move is more related to moving Schmidt into a role that suits his talents. CEO is not necessarily the big thinkers in the organization as much as the leaders and organizers. He may be better suited as a visionary rather than an executive.
12/22/2017 | 1:06:37 PM
@Mitch do you think this is an indication that the company is headed downward, or is this just a typical executive move?
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