Alphabet announced that Eric Schmidt will be leaving his current position as Executive Chairman of the board of directors and will instead become a technical advisor to the company as of the next regular board meeting scheduled to be held in January. Schmidt has a long history with Google and Alphabet, having joined the Internet search giant’s board of directors in March 2001 and becoming Google’s CEO several months. His responsibilities included the development of the corporate infrastructure required to drive Google’s growth at a time when Android was nonexistent and Google’s biggest asset was its search engine.
Schmidt served as Google CEO for ten years between and was succeeded by Google co-founder Larry Page, after which he assumed the responsibilities of Alphabet’s Executive Chairman while continuing to act as an adviser to Page and co-founder Sergey Brin. He continued to serve as Executive Chairman throughout the era of smartphones and Android. Schmidt said he, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Brin, and Page all believe this is the right time in the tech giant’s evolution to make this transition, as the corporate structure is working well and both of Alphabet’s main divisions — Google and Other Bets — are both “thriving.”
Schmidt also said he spent a lot of time in recent years on technology and science issues as well as philanthropy and that he intends on expanding upon that work. The multi-billionaire has been one of the most important and influential Internet entrepreneurs for a decade and a half but only time will tell what other marks he will leave on the industry moving forward as he relinquishes his position of power at Alphabet. In the meantime, the tech company expects the board to appoint a non-executive chairman to take over Schmidt’s responsibilities during its January meeting. Alphabet is presently in the process of concluding a widely successful year that saw it break revenue and market cap records, with its current CEO Pichai largely taking over Schmidt’s responsibilities in recent months, according to previous reports. The advisory role taken on by Schmidt is understood to be mostly symbolic in nature and the industry veteran is unlikely to have a lot of say in regards to how Alphabet is run moving forward.