- Eric Schmidt, Alphabet's executive chairman of the board of directors, is stepping down in January, though he will continue to serve on the board, the company announced Thursday.
After ten years as CEO and seven as Executive Chairman, I can't wait to dive into the latest in science, technology, and philanthropy. I look forward to working with Larry and Sergey on our future here at Alphabet. https://t.co/nVnZqMEHoI— Eric Schmidt (@ericschmidt) December 21, 2017
- After 17 years as part of the company, "he'll now be helping us as a technical advisor on science and technology issues," Alphabet CEO Larry Page said in a statement. The company expects to appoint a non-executive chairman to Alphabet's board.
- "The Alphabet structure is working well, and Google and the Other Bets are thriving," Schmidt said in a statement.
Though the company's founders are still heavily involved with operations, the tech giant will need a new chairman that can help guide Alphabet through intricate regulatory challenges.
As Schmidt remains with the company, his role as technical advisor will likely continue some of the work he undertook as chairman. Last year, he was tapped to help the Pentagon become more tech-savvy and was one of the many executives who participated in the Trump administration's technology council. Schmidt is also vocal about of the role AI can and will play in society, highlighting its potential to help solve the world's "hard problems."
During his tenure as chairman, Schmidt served as the face of Alphabet, and by extension, Google.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai is a visible tech executive, and has been key in preparing the company to compete outside of consumer products and advertising. But Schmidt was the executive that, along with Google's founders, and most represented the tech giant's business dealings.
His authority stems not only from his role as chairman, but also his tenure as Google's CEO, a role that he held from 2001 through 2011. Schmidt became CEO during a very early stage for Google and early investors looked to him to provide "grown-up leadership," as the Associated Press notes.
Through Schmidt's leadership, the company was able to build a structure that supported rapid growth and allowed it to morph into a tech giant among the likes of Apple and Microsoft.