Eric Schmidt, the man who turned Google into a juggernaut during his decade as CEO, is stepping down as executive chairman of Alphabet, its parent company. The company announced Thursday that the 62-year-old will be leaving the role, but will stay on as technical adviser and will continue to serve on the company's board, CNBC reports. Google did not comment on the reason for the departure, though Schmidt said he plans to spend time focusing "on science and technology issues, and philanthropy." Sources tell the Wall Street Journal that Schmidt and Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have been discussing the transition for around a year.
"Since 2001, Eric has provided us with business and engineering expertise and a clear vision about the future of technology," Page, who is CEO of Alphabet, said in a statement, per Recode. "Continuing his 17 years of service to the company, he’ll now be helping us as a technical adviser on science and technology issues." Bloomberg, which sees the change as a generational shift, notes that when Brin and Page were asked in 2001 why they were bringing Schmidt, an experienced software exec in as CEO, Brin quipped: "Parental supervision, to be honest." When Schmidt stepped down from the Google CEO role in 2011, he said: "Day-to-day adult supervision no longer needed!" (Read more Eric Schmidt stories.)