Eric Schmidt Stepping Down as Chairman of Google Parent Company

Bryan Bedder  Getty Images for The New York Times

The company announces that Eric Schmidt will be stepping down as the Executive Chairman. He served as CEO from 2001 to 2011, overseeing Google's landmark IPO and meteoric rise, before becoming executive chairman.

He will continue to serve on the Alphabet's board of directors, the company said.

"Larry, Sergey, Sundar and I all believe that the time is right in Alphabet's evolution for this transition", he said in the statement.

He led critical initiatives like the Android mobile operating system and oversaw the 2015 restructuring in which Google became a business unit of the Alphabet holding company.

It is certainly an end of an era. During his time as CEO at Google, the trio of Schmidt, Page and Brin were jokingly referred to as the "adult supervision". Around the time of the company's 2004 IPO, the trio reportedly pledged to work together for another 20 years.

Schmidt will remain on Alphabet's board and in January will become a "technical advisor" to a group of folks that have some pretty strong tech experience.

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In terms of a successor, the inclusion of Pichai in Schmidt's statement, alongside the names of Page and Brin, "was seen as a passing of the torch and the creation of a new power triumvirate", the paper adds.

Schmidt departs at a time when Google is still riding high as the world's second-most valuable corporation by market capitalization, behind only Apple.

Through a Google spokesman, Schmidt declined to comment.

"Over 17 years, Eric has been tremendously effective and tireless in guiding our Board, particularly as we restructured from Google to Alphabet". Google and its other companies are doing good.

The key outlet for that philanthropy has been The Schmidt Family Foundation, founded by Schmidt and his wife Wendy in 2006.

Google has also had to tamp down reports that Schmidt sought to remove personal information, including about political donations, from the search engine, which he has denied.

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