In a move that many technology pundits have determined was long overdue, Google announced on January 20th, 2011 that in April of this year, co-founder Larry Page will replace Eric Schmidt as CEO of the mammoth technology innovator.
Mr. Schmidt, who was brought in a decade ago as CEO to assist the fledgling technology company by utilizing his proven technology business and leadership experience (Novell, Sun Microsystems and others) will now be focusing on M&A and government relations; while also remaining an advisor to both Mr. Brin and Mr. Page.
What could have been the catalyst for such a change you ask?
I believe the catalyst for this change could be due to a few key points such as:
- The inherent bureaucracy that is bound to occur in a 24,000+ company is stifling innovation
- The competition from likes of Facebook and Twitter
- The entrepreneurial spirit that once defined the company has been diminished over the past few years
- The leadership has, to this point, been run mostly as a triumvirate, which slows down the decision-making process
- The need to find new revenue streams to make shareholders and analysts happy
With $35B in cash at their disposal, Google can do pretty much anything at this point and splitting up the 3-headed top management team into explicitly defined roles and responsibilities makes sense at this juncture in the company’s maturity.
I feel that the spotlight will shine very brightly, and with laser-like focus on every move Larry Page makes in 2011. With that said, I think he and his executive team will make great strides after a short period of re-organization down the ranks.
I also feel that many large companies in other industries can learn a myriad of lessons from this management and leadership shuffle; the pace of change in the world today is lightning-quick and the only proven way to counter-act complacency and competition is to be agile.
Until next time,