Google upstaged its 4Q results announcement by revealing that chief Eric Schmidt is to stand down to focus on his role as executive chairman.
Schmidt claimed the day-to-day running of the firm has become more complex during his ten-year tenure, and that the move was necessary to clarify just who, exactly, is in charge of the firm after sharing major decisions with founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
Page will take on the role of CEO from April 4, and continue to head up Google’s product development, Schmidt revealed in a blog.
“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,” Schmidt stated.
“Larry, in my clear opinion, is ready to lead.”
Despite his assertion, industry insiders say the change was needed because Schmidt was stretched too thin after the firm’s rapid growth, WSJ.com reported.
The UK’s Guardian was more damning, stating that the switch was a long time coming particularly following gaffes like the collection of private user information by Google’s StreetView cars.
Schmidt announced the change as the firm revealed a jump in 4Q profits from $1.97 billion (€1.4 billion) to $2.54 billion in 2010, fuelled by a 26% rise in revenues to $8.44 billion.
An initial spike in the firm’s stock price was reversed in overnight trading, leaving the firm down 4.98 at 626.77.