Eric Schmidt is stepping down as Alphabet executive chairman

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, is to step down from his role in January.

Schmidt joined Google way back in 2001, just three years after it was founded, and played a major role in growing it into the world’s most powerful internet company.

He served as CEO for a decade before a seven year stint as executive chairman, which included the restructuring from Google to Alphabet.

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He will remain on the board as a ‘technical advisor’ on science and technology issues, Alphabet announced late on Thursday.

Schmidt plans to devote more of his time to his philanthropic interests, as well as the latest science and tech issues.

In a statement, Schmidt wrote: “Larry, Sergey, Sundar and I all believe that the time is right in Alphabet’s evolution for this transition. 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.”

Alphabet says it’ll announce a non-executive chairman to replace Schmidt.

Google CEO Larry Page added: “Since 2001, Eric has provided us with business and engineering expertise and a clear vision about the future of technology.

“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 incredibly excited about the progress our companies are making, and about the strong leaders who are driving that innovation.”

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