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Eric Schmidt is stepping down as chairman of Google's parent company

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Eric Schmidt, who has helped lead Google since 2001, is stepping down in January from his post as executive chairman of parent company Alphabet. While the company expects to name a new chairman of its board, it doesn't expect that person to serve as a company executive, as Schmidt did.

Why it matters: Schmidt has been the outside force guiding the company's founders for more than a decade.

In a statement, Schmidt said he, as well as Google CEO Sundar Pichai and company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, all felt the timing was right:

"The Alphabet structure is working well, and Google and the Other Bets are thriving," said Eric Schmidt. "In recent years, I've been spending a lot of my time on science and technology issues, and philanthropy, and I plan to expand that work."

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