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In an effort to shake up its internal culture and processes, Google announced that one of its co-founders, Larry Page, would replace industry veteran Eric B. Schmidt as CEO with immediate effect.
With younger, smaller organisations like Twitter and Facebook mounting a serious challenge to its dominance, The New York Times reports that “Google has lost some of its entrepreneurial culture and become a slower-moving bureaucracy” — a situation the company is desperate to reverse.
The move is likely to put innovation and technology back in the driver’s seat at the world’s premier internet company. “A lot of the growth of the company used to be driven by innovation,” said Yun Kim, an analyst at investment firm Gleacher & Co. “Having someone with the very strong products background that Larry has could bring some innovation back to Google.”
Despite impressive financial results and continued dominance in its core business model, Google has shown vulnerability in the arena of social networking, and Facebook has made serious inroads into its advertising model. There have also been failures with regard to Buzz, Wave and a less-than-impressive launch of Google TV.
But apart from its products, there is a deeper fear that the company is no longer the hip and happening place that it once was, and that it is not attracting the top talent that once flocked to its doors. The New York Times again: “The unspoken fear within Google is that it could become like Microsoft, a once-dominant technology company that seems past its prime and perceived as stodgier, despite successes like XBox and Kinect.” A string of high profile resignations seems to confirm that there are more desirable places to work than Google.
Eric B. Schmidt took over the reins from Larry Page in 2001, and was responsible for putting structures and processes in place that allowed Google to maximise its potential, turning it from a cool startup into one of the most respected and revered organisations of all time.
Chicago Tribune reports that “Schmidt, 55, will remain as executive chairman and will advise Page and Sergey Brin, Google’s other co-founder. Brin will give up his title as co-president to work on high-priority projects.”
Schmidt was gracious on his Twitter account when the announcement was made, tweeting that “adult supervision is no longer needed”, and adding later that “I believe Larry is ready….It’s time for him to have a shot at running this.”