Eric Schmidt is one of the driving force at Google since it’s early days when it was still a little company at the Silicon valley. The new report from Google’s parent company, Alphabet has it that Eric Schmidt has left the company after a really long time.
Schmidt who was the CEO of the company back in the year 2001 quits his position as the technical advisor back in February based on insider report making him one of the long serving figure at the search giant where he was brought in to be the “Adult supervision” tp the company’s young founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. He had initially stepped down from his executive chairman role just three years ago and said he would not be reprising any operational role int he company.
Representatives for Schmidt and Google declined to comment.
This for a fact marks another big departure from the big company and Schmidt’s participation in government projects had raised lots of questions about conflict of interests. Even later on last year, both Sergey Brin and Larry Page who both started the company handed over their roles at Alphabet to Sundar Pichai who had been the CEO of the search business since 2015 and another 14-year legal chief of the company, David Drummond retired at the beginning of the year.
As the original management departs, employees and industry observers have questioned whether the world’s largest search engine, with more than 120,000 employees around the globe, can maintain its famously freewheeling culture. There have been numerous allegations about how the company manages sexual conducts and its causing tension between management and employees and the censored Chinese version of the search engine as well as its working with the US Department of Defense had caused people to question the integrity of the company.
When Schmidt stepped down from his role as the CEO of the company back in 2011, his role at the company had faded and even with that, his ties with the US military had caused blowback to the company’s image.
Schmidt’s role at Google had gradually diminished after he stepped down as CEO in 2011. Still, his ties to the company. He’s the chairman of the Defense Innovation Board, an advisory group aimed at bringing new technology to the Pentagon, including advancements in machine learning. He’s also the chairman of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, which advises Congress on AI for defense.
The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo also announced earlier this week that Schmidt would serve as chairman of a commission which will be tasked with updating the state’s technological infrastructure and practices during and after the coronavirus pandemic. Parts of the role of this team is to issues with telehealth, inernet broadband and remote learning according to Schmidt himself. The appointment also prompted concerns about the influence of big tech in the public sector, especially given Google’s past data privacy scandals.
Schmidt left Novell, a software development company as CEO when he was introduced to young Brin and Page by two of Google’s backer at the time – Venture capitalist John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins and Mike Moritz of Sequoia Capital. Schmidt helped Google expand far to being a global phenomenon. It also adopted a corporate structure that reflected its growing financial success. Schmidt helped take the company public in 2004, a stock market debut that made him a billionaire. (He still holds about $5.3 billion in the company’s stock.)
Then he became the CEO at Google for a decade until 2011 when he stepped down from the role and moved on as executive chairman while Larry Page took over the CEO job. The restructuring of the company back in 2015 made lot sof headlines which led to the creation of a parent company, Alphabet which oversees Google as well as other companies it acquired. Schmidt became executive chairmen of the new entity as well.
In 2017, Schmidt transitioned to the new position of technical adviser, a job the company never clearly described. Still, he had two administrative assistants at Google’s headquarters. The staff have been reassigned since Schmidt’s departure, the person familiar with the situation said.
Schmidt’s exit means he is officially, if symbolically, off Alphabet’s payroll. He was earning $1 per year in the adviser role.
‘Maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place’
But as for Eric Schmidt, he’s quite a controversial figure as report in 2005 saw him blacklisting CNET reporters after the media company published a story about Google’s massive trove of user data. The story included personal information about then-CEO Schmidt, gleaned through Google searches, including his net worth and details about being a Burning Man attendee and amateur pilot.
Another time was in 2009 when he was asked that if people should be sharing information with Google as though it was a trusted friend his response was “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”
Even recently, he drew pushback for his comment during a virtual event with the Economic Club of New York back in April where he criticized the US response to the COVID-19 pandemic as saying the response by the government was slow. He then touted Silicon Valley’s role in helping people get information and communicate during the crisis and said Americans should be “grateful” that tech companies were able to get funding and help people.
“The benefit of these corporations, which we love to malign, in terms of the ability to communicate, the ability to deal with health, the ability to get information, is profound,” he said during the discussion. “Think about what your life would be like in America without Amazon.”