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Eric Schmidt To Leave Alphabet Board, Ending An Era That Defined Google

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, said Tuesday that Eric Schmidt, its former chief executive, planned to relinquish his position on the board of directors in June.

His departure will end an era for the internet giant, in a shake-up of one of the coziest and most stable corporate boards in Silicon Valley. Another member, Diane Greene, who gained her seat in 2012 and had been running Google’s cloud computing business until this year, will also not seek re-election.

Mr. Schmidt, who was Google’s chief executive for a decade until 2011 and then its executive chairman for seven years, oversaw the meteoric rise of Google from a useful search engine into an internet powerhouse.

He was brought into the company in 2001 to provide oversight for its young founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. He helped take Google public and oversaw major acquisitions like YouTube and DoubleClick, which cemented Google as an industry giant.

Mr. Schmidt stepped down as executive chairman of Alphabet in January 2018 but kept his board seat. He will not seek re-election when his term expires in June, Alphabet said. On Twitter, Mr. Schmidt said he would remain a technical adviser to Alphabet and Google.

Alphabet said it had appointed to the board Robin L. Washington, an executive vice president and chief financial officer of Gilead Sciences, a biopharmaceuticals company. Before the announced changes, seven of Alphabet’s 11 directors had been on the board for more than a decade.

The board has come under scrutiny because of a shareholder lawsuit filed in January which said directors had neglected their fiduciary duties by approving massive exit packages for executives accused of misconduct.

The lawsuit, citing minutes and emails, said board members had rubber-stamped compensation agreements hammered out by Mr. Page, Alphabet’s chief executive, who along with Mr. Brin owns voting control of the company.―NY Times

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