While the news that Eric Schmidt would stop being CEO at Google was shocking, it wasn’t entirely unexpected.
Gossips have been saying for months the relationship between Schmidt and cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page was growing rocky.
Michael Arrington at TechCrunch says he was ready to run a story last summer based on information from multiple sources that Schmidt would be leaving last summer. Google insisted it wasn’t happening (and it didn’t happen just then) so, Arrington spiked it.
Backing up Arrington’s story, the Wall Street Journal reported this morning, “The transition has long been contemplated, according to a person familiar with the matter, and planning for it accelerated last year.” It also says, “aspects of the personal relationship between Messrs. Page and Schmidt had also grown rockier over the past year.”
The tension at Google was over who was in charge of making decisions. Schmidt is more corporate than the cofounders, which may have slowed things down.
While there were whispers of the switch, it still stunned people at Google. A former Googler told the New York Times, “I’ve talked to people at Google today and they were just flabbergasted.”