Ken Auletta has written the best take on why Eric Schmidt is leaving Google we’ve seen yet.
(And yes, he’s leaving, not just moving up in the company, says Auletta.)
Auletta wrote the book “Googled” so he knows the executives and the company pretty well. If you want to read the whole thing, it’s at the New Yorker.
Here’s our bullet point version:
- Schmidt was “upset” last year when Google decided to pull out of China. He fought with Sergey Brin and Larry Page, saying it was a bad idea to leave such a huge marketplace.
- After losing that battle, he “lost some energy and focus.”
- At the same time, Google’s social efforts were flopping, Facebook was poaching engineers, and the government was harrassing Google. Schmidt started to contemplate leaving.
- He decided to stay after labour Day, convinced he could recharge his batteries. He couldn’t, he was worn down and he decided to leave.
- He will have the post of Executive Chairman for a year then leave, says Auletta citing a source close to the company and its executives.
- As for Larry Page, he’s always wanted to be CEO, but he’s going to have to evolve: He’s not comfortable speaking in public, he likes to look at his Android phone during meetings, and he’s very private.