Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO, steps down from Alphabet’s board after an 18-year long stint

3 min read

Eric Schmidt is stepping down from Alphabet’s board of directors, after an 18-year long stint. He is not seeking re-election to the board of directors after his current term expires on June 19th, 2019, Alphabet announced on Tuesday. Schmidt will continue to serve the board as Technical Advisor.

Schmidt joined Google in March 2001 as chairman and became the company’s CEO in August 2001. In 2011, Google announced that Schmidt would step down as the CEO of Google but would take new title as executive chairman of the company and act as an adviser to co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. He later announced in December 2017 that he was stepping down from that role but staying on Alphabet’s board.

Along with Schmidt, former CEO of Google Cloud, Diane Greene is also not seeking re-election to the Board at the expiration of her current term on June 19, 2019.

Both these retirement announcements come just a day after Alphabet had its worst earnings call in 6 years. According to Bloomberg, the stock fell as much as 8.6 percent Tuesday, the most intraday since October 2012, and traded down 7.6 percent to $1,197.85 at 9:37 a.m. in New York. Sales came in at $29.5 billion, excluding payments to distribution partners, Alphabet said in a statement on Monday. Google was also fined $1.7 billion by the EU for abusive ad practices last month, which further dented the earnings result.

Although Schmidt’s has undoubtedly been a key player in Google’s growth, his recent actions have come under the spotlight. Multiple shareholders including Schmidt and Greene were involved in the decision to quietly pay out $135 million to Android creator Andy Rubin amid a sexual misconduct inquiry, which instigated the Google Walkout. Schmidt was later named in a lawsuit accusing the company of covering up harassment by multiple executives. Greene was also involved in pushing for Google’s infamous Project Maven, which was focused on analyzing drone footage and could have been eventually used to improve drone strikes on the battlefield.

Schmidt played an important role in President Obama’s two election victories. Per a New York Times report, Schmidt was also intimately involved in building Obama’s voter-targeting operation in 2012, recruiting digital talent, choosing technology, and coaching campaign manager Jim Messina on campaign infrastructure. He has been appointed to numerous White House advisory positions, giving him privileged insight into the administration’s policies in technology, science, and military defense, as well as unusual access to top policymakers.

Now Schmidt is involved in Joe Biden’s presidential campaigning which was announced last week. In a bid to broaden its appeal with younger voters and small donors, CNBC reports, Biden has turned to Civis Analytics, a data science software and consulting company backed by former Google chairman Eric Schmidt.

Back in 2009, Eric Schmidt was accused of dismissing privacy concerns. When asked during an interview for CNBC’s “Inside the Mind of Google” special about whether users should be sharing information with Google as if it were a “trusted friend,” Schmidt responded, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

Schmidt said that he would be stepping down in order to help “the next generation of talent to serve.” He said he would be teaching more, working at his philanthropic organization, Schmidt Futures, and using his role as technical advisor to “coach Alphabet and Google businesses/tech.”

Schmidt is replaced by Robin L. Washington effective from April 25. She has experience across finance and operations and will serve on Alphabet’s Leadership Development and Compensation Committee. Washington has been the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Gilead Sciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, since February 2014.

Read Next

#NotOkGoogle: Employee-led town hall reveals hundreds of stories of retaliation at Google.

Google announces new policy changes for employees to report misconduct amid complaints of retaliation and harassment.

#GoogleWalkout organizers face backlash at work, tech workers show solidarity

Content Marketing Editor at Packt Hub. I blog about new and upcoming tech trends ranging from Data science, Web development, Programming, Cloud & Networking, IoT, Security and Game development.