Management Change at Google?!

If I were still in the blogging business, which I am leaving for a while, I would want to find out more about this management change announced just now by Google, in which co-founder Larry Page "will take charge of Google's day-to-day operations as Chief Executive Officer," and the current CEO, Eric Schmidt, "will assume the role of Executive Chairman, focusing 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, he will continue to act as an advisor to Larry and Sergey."

In my actual circumstances -- article long overdue, book right after that, ready to turn this space over to guests in two days -- I will leave exploration of the ups and downs here to our crack Tech and Business teams. In one sense this is a natural evolution. Over the past few years, Eric Schmidt (disclosure: our families are longtime friends) has done more and more of the "external" business of the company, as defined in this press release. Public speaking, "thought leadership," discussions of the role of technology in economic development, etc -- and as anyone who has seen him perform knows, he does this very, very well. If I had time, I'd link to one of the discussions he has done at our Washington Ideas Forum, or at Aspen (or before the American Society of News Editors last year, which I wrote about here).  As Google's size and influence grow, so naturally do legal, regulatory, cultural, and other forms of criticism and resistance to it, increasing the importance of a Mr. Outside role. Whether there is more to the story I don't know -- and will leave to my colleagues to find out.

Update: here is Eric Schmidt's statement, from the Google site, and his initial tweet: "Day-to-day adult supervision no longer needed!" An allusion of course to the task for which he was brought in a decade ago.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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