Eric Schmidt will step down as the CEO of Google in April, the company announced today via official blog post. “Mr. Schmidt will remain executive chairman and serve as adviser to Mr. Page and Sergey Brin, the other company co-founder and its president of technology,” reports the New York Times. But tech blogger Owen Thomas tells a more nuanced story.
At MediaBeat, Thomas points out that “Page was Google’s first CEO, and held the job from 1998 to 2001,” and since, the three have used a “triumvirate approach” in which they “have all been equally involved in making decisions.”
Page has long held an interest in the top role: When I wrote about Google’s $25 million fundraising from Kleiner and Sequoia, I inadvertently swapped his position with Brin, who was then president, a mistake which promptly generated an email directly from Page himself. And I’ve heard from insiders over the years that Page was eager to be CEO again.
That’s never been the case with Brin, who is stepping down from his current role as president. This, too, is significant: Under Google’s corporate bylaws (which, no joke, I happened to be reading for kicks the other day), a president has many powers and responsibilities, including the ability to call a special meeting of the board. Brin is giving up all that, though he will likely retain considerable moral authority, including Google’s “don’t be evil” ethos. (“Evil is whatever Sergey says is evil,” Schmidt once told Wired.)
For more analysis on what this move means for the company who’s quietly running your life, click here.
An update from the Chairman [Google Blog]