Eric Schmidt Out as Google CEO—With $334M Payday

Co-founder Larry Page will take over in April
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2011 4:08 PM CST
Eric Schmidt Out as Google CEO—With $334M Payday
Google CEO Eric Schmidt at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Google made a surprise shuffle at the top today when announcing its quarterly results: Eric Schmidt is stepping down as CEO and will be replaced by co-founder Larry Page, reports MarketWatch. Schmidt will remain with the company as executive chairman, while Page's co-founder, Sergey Brin, will take a bigger role with a focus on "strategic projects." Schmidt plans to sell some of his Google shares, a move that would see him clear $334 million at today's prices, notes Fortune. See Google's official blog on the shuffle here.

Silicon Alley Insider provides quick analysis:

  • "This is not a loss for Google," writes Jay Yarow. "Increasingly, it has seemed like Schmidt was just an ambassador" for the company. "Our read of the company is that Brin and Page have been driving most of the major strategic decisions for a while.
  • Why the move: It's probably "because Sergey and Larry were frustrated with dealing with him. Note the quote from Schmidt that Google wanted to 'speed up decision making.'"
(As for those quarterly results, they were strong—the company posted a fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates.)

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