Alphabet's most important executive was strangely absent at its first shareholder meeting

Google parent company Alphabet just held its first shareholders meeting since blowing up its corporate structure last fall and one exec was notably absent:

CEO Larry Page.

Page has taken the stage to talk to shareholders for the last three years. In fact, since 2010, the only time he’s missed a shareholder meeting was in 2012 when a medical condition with his vocal chords sidelined him.

But Page wasn’t even in the audience on Wednesday.

Also absent was cofounder Sergey Brin, who has been a regular fixture of the stockholder meetings in past years.

To answer shareholder questions on topics like Alphabet’s Fibre business and its government lobbying, CFO Ruth Porat, executive chairman Eric Schmidt, SVP of corporate development David Drummond, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai gathered at the front. HR exec Laszlo Bock popped up at one point to talk about Alphabet’s gender salary numbers.

A Google spokesperson declined to say why Page didn’t show up.

Schmidt’s introduction of Pichai speaks volumes though:

“To say that Sundar is the best CEO, speaking as the former CEO, would be an understatement,” Schmidt said. “To watch him navigate the challenges and space, I go, ‘Oh my god, we’re so fortunate to have Sundar, literally, as the CEO of our favourite part of Alphabet — Google — which is why you’re all here.”

As long as Alphabet’s golden child keeps spurting money and Porat maintains an era of fiscal discipline, Page may be able to avoid events like these.

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