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.