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Google CEO Eric Schmidt to step down, co-founder Larry Page to take over [Updated]

January 20, 2011 |  1:35 pm

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Google's Eric Schmidt is stepping aside as chief executive in April, and co-founder Larry Page is taking over, the company said before its earnings statement Thursday.

"Google also announced that its board of directors had approved certain changes to Google's management team," the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. "Larry Page, Google's co-founder and president of products, will become Google's chief executive officer, effective April 4, 2011.

"Eric Schmidt, Google's current chief executive officer, will continue as the chairman of the board of directors and will serve as Google's executive chairman."

As executive chairman, Google said, Schmidt will act as an advisor to Page and Sergey Brin, Google's other co-founder and president of technology.

Schmidt will also assist with Page's transition to CEO.

[Updated 2:17 p.m.: Schmidt and Page commented on the leadership changes in a statement announcing the company's fourth quarter 2010 earnings.

Schmidt said:"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."

Page said: "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."]

[Updated 3:04 p.m.: Schmidt wrote about the CEO shakeup in a post on the Official Google Blog on Thursday, stating:

Larry, Sergey and I have been talking for a long time about how best to simplify our management structure and speed up decision making—and over the holidays we decided now was the right moment to make some changes to the way we are structured.

For the last 10 years, we have all been equally involved in making decisions. 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 will now lead product development and technology strategy, his greatest strengths, and starting from April 4 he will take charge of our day-to-day operations as Google’s Chief Executive Officer. In this new role I know he will merge Google’s technology and business vision brilliantly. I am enormously proud of my last decade as CEO, and I am certain that the next 10 years under Larry will be even better! Larry, in my clear opinion, is ready to lead.

Sergey has decided to devote his time and energy to strategic projects, in particular working on new products. His title will be Co-Founder. He’s an innovator and entrepreneur to the core, and this role suits him perfectly.

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.

Schmidt also posted the below photo of himself, Page and Brin in a "self-driven" Toyota Prius.]

Schmidt, Page and Brin in a self-driving Toyota Prius

ALSO:

Apple quarterly profit surges 78% to $6 billion; shares fall 2.2% on Steve Jobs' medical leave

Google makes downloads of Google Earth, Picasa and Chrome available in Iran

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Photo: (Top) Google CEO Eric Schmidt smiles outside of Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., on Wednesday, Jan. 19. Credit: Paul Sakuma/AP Photo. (Bottom) Eric Schmidt, current Google CEO, Larry Page, co-founder and future Google CEO, and Sergey Brin, co-founder, pose in a self-driven Toyota Prius. Credit: Google

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