Eric Schmidt Is Stepping Down From Alphabet Inc (GOOGL)

Eric Schmidt at MWC

The creation of Alphabet also lead to Mr Schmidt becoming chairman of the parent company.

The new role for Eric, that of a technical advisor is again something that perhaps comes to him most naturally, having done the same for the past 17 years that he has been associated with Google.

Schmidt believes the Alphabet structure works well, and Google and the Other Bets are thriving. He also plans to spend time on philanthropy and on "science and technology issues", he said in the statement.

Schmidt joined the company in 2001, just three years into its existence, and became chief executive of Google, playing a key role in its development from startup to global titan.

It is certainly an end of an era. But he retained a highly influential role at the company and continued to serve in many ways as its public face.

Schmidt also had a seat on Apple's board of directors from August 2006 until three years later when Google's ambitions for Android became problematic for Apple.

He will transition to a role of technical advisor to the company while continuing to serve on the company board.

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"I'm incredibly excited about the progress our companies are making, and about the strong leaders who are driving that innovation", he said.

In terms of a successor, the inclusion of Pichai in Schmidt's statement, alongside the names of Page and Brin, "was seen as a passing of the torch and the creation of a new power triumvirate", the paper adds. Schmidt joked he provided the "adult supervision" to the Google team.

Of course, Schmidt handed the baton to Page in 2011.

Schmidt has been marginalised over time at Alphabet through a combination of its changing leadership, the shifting political environment in the United States, and his own personal gaffes, according to people familiar with the company, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly.

"Over 17 years, Eric has been tremendously effective and tireless in guiding our Board, particularly as we restructured from Google to Alphabet". The company feels he was invaluable to the evolution of the company, as this was done without "throwing away the uniqueness that was Google during those early days".

Like many high-profile tech figures, Schmidt has increasingly turned his hand to philanthropy.

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