Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt has relinquished his role as company chairman of the board, according to the search engine leader's filing for an initial public offering last week. Schmidt, who joined Google as its chairman in March 2001 and became CEO four months later, has been named instead chairman of the executive committee, an administrative function of the board. Schmidt's change in roles shows a vacancy in the top seat at Google's helm. It also reflects a trend among some large companies to opt for dual governance in the upper ranks, in which it would seek an outsider to be chairman of the board.
Google recently signed on three new board members, giving it nine directors. Joining the board were John Hennessy, president of Stanford University; Art Levinson, CEO of Genentech; and Paul Otellini, chief operating officer of Intel.