Just how small was Google when Eric Schmidt joined it in 2001? Here are a few stats:
- It had a few hundred employees.
- Its site had 13.6 million monthly unique visitors.
- It had just had its first profitable year, though as a private company it didn't have to disclose financials.
So, it's kind of a big deal that he is stepping down as executive chairman of Alphabet, Google's parent company.
- In his early years, Schmidt was seen as bringing experience and structure to the young internet company.
- In recent years, he served as an elder statesman on the global stage and wielded political influence in Washington, especially under President Obama.
- But Schmidt had been a less central figure in recent months.
- Schmidt said in a statement that the decision was mutual, along with co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
What wasn't said: His might not be the face Google wants front and center during a time of heightened scrutiny over sexual misconduct issues. As the New York Times noted, the married Schmidt was known for being seen publicly with other women at his side — including at Google events.