According to Google’s blog, it was announced earlier this afternoon that Eric Schmidt is stepping down from his role as CEO of Google. This is true, but Schmidt is not leaving Google. He is still going to be heavily involved with the company and is simply assuming a different role.
Larry Page who is the co founder of Google will become CEO on April 4 while Schmidt will become Executive Chairman. Page was the original CEO of Google until 2001 when Schmidt took the helm. Page has remained heavily involved with the company and serves as Google’s products president.
Google’s other founder (Sergey Brin) is currently the company’s president of technology. His role seems like it will be much the same, and he will focus much of his time to working on new products, according to Schmidt’s post this afternoon on the Official Google Blog.
So what will Schmidt do in his new role as Executive Director? In his own words:
“As Executive Chairman, I will focus wherever I can add the greatest value: externally, on the deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership that are increasingly important given Google’s global reach; and internally as an advisor to Larry and Sergey.”
To the average person, this will have a largely unnoticeable impact. I get the sense that a big part of the reason was to make shareholders happy. It’s not that they were unhappy with Schmidt, but the change will more clearly define who is responsible for what and the hope of Google is that this will lead to increased accountability.