In a shock announcement, Eric Schmidt has stepped aside as CEO of Google, allowing co-founder Larry Page to take over the reins.
Schmidt, 55, took on the role almost a decade ago, and was seen as a mentor to Google’s youthful leaders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and oversaw the company’s rise to become the biggest search engine in the world.
However, despite consistently strong profits, Google has met with stiff competition with social media site Facebook, and it will be Page’s task to provide the impetus needed to meet the challenge from this new kid on the block.
As part of his agreement, the fabulously wealthy Schmidt will become slightly more fabulously wealthy when he receives $100 million of Google stock and an eye-watering $335 million as part of a pre-agreed trading plan. However, this is a drop in the ocean compared to Schmidt’s total worth, which is estimated to be around $5.8 billion.
Google is renowned for keeping those within the search engine optimisation industry guessing over their search algorithms, but chose not to play any such games with its shareholders. Page, 37, originally stood aside to let Schmidt take over when investors demanded a more experienced business leader, but is now considered to be a safe pair of hands for Google.
Mr Schmidt commented:
“We’ve been talking about how best to simplify our management structure and speed up decision making for a long time.”
“Larry will now lead product development and technology strategy, his greatest strengths… Sergey has decided to devote his time and energy to strategic projects, in particular working on new products. His title will be co-founder.”