Schmidt refutes rumors over Google shakeup

As he prepares to step down as CEO, Eric Schmidt tries to set the record straight on the decision to give co-founder Larry Page the top job.

From left, Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin
From left, Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin Google

The decision to hand Google's CEO reins from Eric Schmidt to Larry Page was born not out of internal dissent or competitive fears over Facebook but rather out of the need to tighten up management.

That's the message Schmidt himself has been trying to get across. Though he's spent the past week defending and explaining the impetus behind the executive shuffle, he once again tried to set the record straight yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Schmidt worked to quash rumors spread by those claiming to have the inside scoop.

"All of the predicates for why the reorganization happened have not been correct," he told reporters at the conference, according to The Wall Street Journal. "The correct reason is we sat down and said: 'This is a company that needs to be run even more tightly.'"

Schmidt once again defended Page, who's been criticized in some circles as not capable of taking on the CEO mantle, and cited him as the force behind the company's product initiatives.

"When people criticize Larry as the new CEO, that's grossly unfair to Larry," Schmidt told reporters, according to the Journal. "He has been with me at every business decision for 10 years."

Schmidt also dismissed the notion that competition with Facebook is driving Google and was a factor in the management shift. He instead pointed to Microsoft as a major competitor, according to Fortune. Telling reporters that Facebook has said it has no plans to get into the search business, Schmidt said that Microsoft instead is the company with "more cash, more engineers, more global reach."

The change in leadership roles is due to kick in April 4 when Page will assume the CEO job. Meanwhile, fellow co-founder Sergey Brin will focus on "strategic projects," and Schmidt will take on the title of executive chairman to work on business deals and partnerships, among other responsibilities.

 

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