Google must be worried, founder Larry Page kicks former CEO Eric Schmidt upstairs

Heaven knows what Google is worried about but the sudden decision to boot CEO Eric Schmidt upstairs to executive chairman and replace him with founder Larry Page (pictured) does not suggest a company at ease with itself or its prospects.

So what are the Googlers worried about? Its profits are going through the roof, Android is powering more smart phones than Apple and it’s still the godfather in search.

When the super-corporate Schmidt took over as CEO in 2001 he said his job was to bring ‘day to day supervision’ of the Silicon Valley start-up that, maybe, would take over the world.

His job was to keep Larry Page and co-founder Sergey Brin in check and keep the shareholders happy, which presumably they have been given all the money Google has made since.

So what’s the problem?

Well it just might be that the aforementioned shareholders, ungrateful lot that they are, are publicly fretting about Google’s desire to everything, everywhere (no, not the naff merger twixt Orange and T-Mobile).

From Street Search to Google-powered cars it all looks a bit dangerous and silly to some investors. In particular they worry about the company’s avowed intent to keep hiring thousands more people as it seeks new markets.

Page seems to be saying, “we’re an entrepreneurial, risky company, so take it or leave it.”

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It worked (in the end) for Steve Jobs at Apple, it didn’t pay off for the founders of Yahoo.

But it’s the last thing you expected just now from a company (we all thought) at the top of its game.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.