Google co-founder Larry Page is stepping down as CEO of the search giant's parent company in favor of Google CEO Sundar Pichai, marking a major shift for one of the world's most valuable companies.

Page and co-founder Sergey Brin will no longer be involved in day-to-day operations of Alphabet, the parent company, according to an announcement Tuesday, though they will keep their board seats. Page has turned over the CEO role once before, in 2001, to Eric Schmidt, who held the post for nearly 10 years before handing the reins back to Page.

"We are deeply committed to Google and Alphabet for the long term, and will remain actively involved as board members, shareholders and co-founders," Page and Brin wrote in the announcement. "We plan to continue talking with Sundar regularly, especially on topics we're passionate about."

Pichai inherits sole responsibility for a company buffeted by antitrust investigations and the ire of President Donald Trump. Under Pichai, Google has been trying to become more buttoned up, amid a series of leaks to the media and worker pushback.

Some things will remain the same: Brin and Page hold a majority of the company's voting stock, meaning major board decisions still need their stamp of approval.

Unlike his Silicon Valley peers at Apple and Facebook, Page has remained largely out of the public in recent years. He stopped attending the company's weekly all-hands confab and skipped the annual shareholder meeting. One shareholder even confronted board members in June over Page's disappearing act only to be told that he simply couldn't make it.

Page has been CEO of Alphabet since the holding company formed was formed in 2015 and Pichai was named Google CEO. Alphabet oversees other divisions including X, from which experimental projects emerge, and several investment arms. Page also has outside interests, such as his flying car startup Kitty Hawk.

Friday, December 06, 2019
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