In a surprise shakeup, Google co-founder Larry Page is replacing Eric Schmidt as chief executive of the search giant. Starting April 4, Page will take over day-to-day operations while Schmidt becomes executive chairman, focusing on "deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership." Shortly after the announcement was posted on the company's blog, Schmidt tweeted "Day-to-day adult supervision no longer needed!" in reference to his much-discussed role as a moderating check to Page and Sergey Brin's youthful excesses. Here are the reactions from Schmidt, Brin, Page and others around the web:
- Eric Schmidt “We’ve been talking about how best to simplify our management structure and speed up decision making for a long time. By clarifying our individual roles we’ll create clearer responsibility and accountability at the top of the company. In my clear opinion, Larry is ready to lead and I’m excited about working with both him and Sergey for a long time to come.”
- Larry Page “Eric has clearly done an outstanding job leading Google for the last decade. The results speak for themselves. There is no other CEO in the world that could have kept such headstrong founders so deeply involved and still run the business so brilliantly. Eric is a tremendous leader and I have learned innumerable lessons from him. His advice and efforts will be invaluable to me as I start in this new role. Google still has such incredible opportunity–we are only at the beginning and I can’t wait to get started."
- Sergey Brin "I’d like to mention that I’ve had a great time working with Larry now for 15 years and Eric for a decade. Both of them have inspired and moved me. I would like to work more on my personal passions. There will be several new products I’m working on. I’ve been accused of vaporware recently, so I won’t talk about them yet. But soon."
- James Fallows at The Atlantic:
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 -- 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). As Google's size and influence grow, so naturally do legal, cultural, and other forms of criticism and resistance to it, increasing the importance of a Mr. Outside role.
- Jay Yarrow at Business Insider:
This news came out of nowhere, as reflected in the stocks movement after-hours. It spiked on strong earnings, then fell back, and is now up around 1%. Investors, along with the rest of the tech world are trying to make sense of the news
- Kristen Nicole at Silicon Angle:
It’s not entirely different from what Schmidt has been doing for Google since joining the company in its extremely early stage, but it will be interesting to see Page as the front man for Google moving forward.
- Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land:
With things running so well, why would Google change up now? If you take the statements at face value, Page is “ready to lead” and the overall structure is deemed ready to be simplified.
There’s no doubt Google’s probably overdue for a major management reorganization. The structures between the three have remained exactly the same over the past 10 years — which might as well be 100 years of internet time.
In that time, Google has transformed from a scrappy little underdog search engine into a massive advertising and technological powerhouse
If you think Google embraced change the last ten years, get ready for CEO Larry. Remember, he's the guy who wanted to build space elevators.
Founder becoming CEO: I guess the question is this like a Steve Jobs returning or a Jerry Yang returning.
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