Google surprised the industry yesterday with news that co-founder Larry Page will replace Eric Schmidt as chief executive officer from April 4. In a move that Schmidt claimed will “simplify our management structure and speed up decision making,” Page will take charge of Google’s day-to-day operations and lead product development and technology strategy, while fellow co-founder Sergey Brin “will devote his energies to strategic projects, in particular working on new products.” Schmidt will assume the role of executive chairman, “focusing externally on deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership.” He will also act as internal advisor to the two co-founders. “Larry is ready to lead,” said Schmidt. Interestingly, Schmidt added on a conference call that he wants to better explain Google’s business to the government in future. “People don’t understand what we do or don’t do,” he noted.
The management shakeup announcement came as the company reported fiscal fourth-quarter results. Revenue came in at US$8.44 billion for the period ended December 31, 2010, up 26 percent year-on-year, while net income was US$2.54 billion, compared with US$1.97 billion a year earlier. Shares of Google climbed 1.3 percent to US$635 in after-hours trading, following the restructuring and results announcements.