There's movement at the top of Google, and cofounder Larry Page will be taking over daily operations at the search giant. No longer will Eric Schmidt sit in the CEO position—he has decided to step into the role of Executive Chairman, while Page slides in as CEO. The other Google cofounder, Sergey Brin, will "devote his energy to strategic projects, in particular working on new products."
Google made the announcement as part of its quarterly earnings report for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2010. The company reported revenues of $8.44 billion during the quarter, an increase of 26 percent from the same quarter in 2009, with Google-owned sites generating 67 percent of total revenues. But forget the company's clearly successful quarter: all the discussion is about the shift in Schmidt's position.
"For the last 10 years, we have all been equally involved in making decisions," Schmidt wrote in a post on Google's Blog, referring to himself, Page, and Brin. "This triumvirate approach has real benefits in terms of shared wisdom, and we will continue to discuss the big decisions among the three of us. But we have also agreed to clarify our individual roles so there’s clear responsibility and accountability at the top of the company."
Larry Page (left) and Sergey Brin (right)
As a result, Page will lead product development and technology strategy within Google and take over Schmidt's day-to-day role as CEO starting April 4. As Executive Chairman, Schmidt will focus on deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership, in addition to being an advisor to both Page and Brin.
On the followup call to discuss Google's quarterly earnings, Schmidt told analysts that the decision to switch things up would result in "even better success for the corporation." He assured the group that "Larry is ready," and that the move would help clarify how decisions are made within Google.
In a more amusing (but slightly less reassuring) tweet, Schmidt declared that "[d]ay-to-day adult supervision" would no longer be needed at Google. Does this mean the inmates are now running the asylum? Possibly, but Brin hinted during the call that he had "things" up his sleeve that he'll introduce soon—if that means new toys, then we're all ears.