Google changes CEO; co-founder Larry Page to take the reigns

Page, Schmidt and Brin

Earlier today Google announced its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2010 results (which were very good), then quickly overshadowed that news with the announcement that Google co-founder Larry Page will take over the CEO title from current holder Eric Schmidt, who will remain as an advisor and take the title Executive Chairman.

So what does this mean for Google? In theory, not much. Of course, there may be more to the story than the Google press release lets on, but since taking the CEO title in August of 2001, Schmidt, Page, and co-founder Sergey Brin have been running the company as a triumvirate, with each man taking over one specific role, but all three making the major decisions.

“We’ve been talking about how best to simplify our management structure and speed up decision making for a long time.” Schmidt said. “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.”

As Page takes on the day-to-day operations and the legal responsibilities associated with the title of CEO, Schmidt will remain involved as the Executive Chairmen. According to Google, his new responsibilities will involve “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.” Schmidt will also continue to act as an advisor to Page and Brin.

Brin will continue to work with Google’s philanthropic division on energy and climate change projects, and will be involved with all new project development at Google as well as all major decisions.

The news should not do much to the Google stock, especially following the fourth quarter earnings which reported revenue of $8.44 billion, a 26-percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2009.

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