MWC

Eric Schmidt to step down as executive chairman of Alphabet

Tim Maytom

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google owners Alphabet, is set to step down from his role in January after almost 17 years with the company. He will remain on the board as a technical adviser on science and technology issues.

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.

In 2011, he changed role to be chairman of the board, and when the firm restructured in 2015 under the new parent company of Alphabet, Schmidt became chairman of the larger umbrella corporation.

"Larry, Sergey, Sundar and I all believe that the time is right in Alphabet's evolution for this transition," said Schmidt. "The Alphabet structure is working well, and Google and the Other Bets are thriving. In recent years, I've been spending a lot of my time on science and technology issues, and philanthropy, and I plan to expand that work."

"Since 2001, Eric has provided us with business and engineering expertise and a clear vision about the future of technology," said Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet. "Continuing his 17 years of service to the company, he'll now be helping us as a technical advisor on science and technology issues. I'm incredible excited about the progress our companies are making, and about the strong leaders who are driving that innovation."

Alphabet has announced that it plans to appoint a non-executive chairman in the near future.