It has just been announced that Eric Schmidt is stepping down as the CEO of Google.

In Google’s latest quarterly report on earnings, beyond just listing yet another profitable quarter, the search engine giant dropped a bombshell that Eric Schmidt is stepping down.  Mr. Schmidt has served in the post since March 15, 2001.

The company also outlined the transition plans that will see Schmidt take on the role of Executive Chairman:

  • Starting from April 4, Larry Page, Google Co-Founder, will take charge of Google’s day-to-day operations as Chief Executive Officer.
  • Sergey Brin, Google Co-Founder, will devote his energy to strategic projects, in particular working on new products.
  • Eric Schmidt will assume the role of Executive Chairman, focusing externally on deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership–all of which are increasingly important given Google’s global reach. Internally, he will continue to act as an advisor to Larry and Sergey.

Mr. Schmidt had this to say about the transition, “We’ve been talking about how best to simplify our management structure and speed up decision making for a long time. By clarifying our individual roles we’ll create clearer responsibility and accountability at the top of the company. In my clear opinion, Larry is ready to lead and I’m excited about working with both him and Sergey for a long time to come.”

Mr. Page added, “Eric has clearly done an outstanding job leading Google for the last decade. The results speak for themselves. There is no other CEO in the world that could have kept such headstrong founders so deeply involved and still run the business so brilliantly. Eric is a tremendous leader and I have learned innumerable lessons from him. His advice and efforts will be invaluable to me as I start in this new role. Google still has such incredible opportunity–we are only at the beginning and I can’t wait to get started.”

This is one of the biggest shake ups at the company in a long time, and is sure to have a lot of ramifications we will only begin to figure out with time.