Alphabet, the parent company of Google, announced last week that executive chairman Eric Schmidt would be leaving his post in January, ending Schmidt’s role as the company’s primary steward. Schmidt previously served as Google’s CEO for a decade beginning in 2001, before transitioning to his role on the company’s board. He will continue to serve on Alphabet’s board.
Over Schmidt’s time as Google’s leader, he expanded the company from search into other areas, piloting the acquisition of sites like YouTube and the growth of the Android mobile operating system. In later years, he has served as more of an ambassador for the company, helping to grease the wheels in corridors of power like Washington, D.C. (whose attitude toward the liberal leanings of companies like Google has changed just a tad recently).
A source told The Wall Street Journal that Schmidt’s stepping down has been in the works for roughly a year. “Continuing his 17 years of service to the company, he’ll now be helping us as a technical advisor on science and technology issues,” Larry Page, Google’s co-founder and now CEO of Alphabet, said in a press release. He’ll also presumably have more free time to spend in his, ahem, soundproof penthouse.