Schmidt concurred in the same interview, saying it had started to become clear the company needed to be run more crisply.
“I am not as concerned about the titles as I am winning,” Schmidt said. “I am quite certain that this change will result in faster decision-making and better value for the shareholders.”
Google’s stockholders have had little to complain about, not that it would have made a major difference because Schmidt, Page, and Brin combined own a controlling stake in the company.
Google is coming off a year in which its earnings climbed 30 percent to $8.5 billion and, although its stock price remains below its all-time high reached in 2007, it has more than doubled from its lows during the recession.
Google shares rose $8.23, or 1.3 percent, to $635 in extended trading after the announcement. In the regular session earlier, the stock fell $4.98, or 0.8 percent, to close at $626.77.
The stock peaked at $747 before the recession.
Although Schmidt has publicly acknowledged bickering with Page and Brin through the years, the management reshuffling appears to be amicable. Both Page and Schmidt heaped praise on each other in their interview and a conference call with analysts, with Schmidt describing Google’s co-founders as his “best friends.”
“I believe Larry is ready” to be CEO, Schmidt said during the call. “It’s time for him to have a shot at running this.”
Page hailed Schmidt as a “tremendous leader” whose contributions exceeded all expectations. “There is really no one else in the universe that could have accomplished what Eric has done,” Page said.
Although he tried to debunk the idea in the interview, Schmidt may have been growing weary of all the attention and prosaic duties that come with running one of world’s most scrutinized companies.