The Internet search giant says its unique and somewhat clunky executive triad will be streamlined in April. According to the plan, CEO Eric Schmidt will be replaced by Google co-founder Larry Page.
|Larry Page, to become Google CEO on April 4|
Schmidt, who was long thought of as the seasoned hand and management talent at the search giant, will take the executive chairman title.
The restructuring also includes the departure of Sergey Brin from the management team. Brin's new role will be far less central to Google's core operations, and he will have the title of "co-founder.""Sergey has decided to devote his time and energy to strategic projects," Schmidt wrote in the Google blog. The move comes as Google announced stronger-than-expected earnings and sales for the fourth quarter. Schmidt acknowledged the company's bright performance, but added that behind the scenes, there may have been leadership struggles. "As our results today show, the outlook is bright," Schmidt wrote. "But as Google has grown, managing the business has become more complicated." The three-way decision process at Google was never depicted as a cozy session of like-minded individuals all on the same page; apparently the trio decided on a more conventional organization chart. We "agreed to clarify our individual roles so there's clear responsibility and accountability at the top of the company," Schmidt wrote. Schmidt holds out that he, Brin and Page will all continue to work together for a long time to come, but the shakeup suggests otherwise. "Eric was the grownup," says one analyst. "It's almost a little like Facebook now," he added, referring to the decision-making role of the social network's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Investors seemed to focus more on the financial performance and less on the executive breakup. Google shares were up 2% to $642.55 in after-hours trading Thursday. --Written by Scott Moritz in New York.
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