Posted by Tom Foremski - January 26, 2010
When Eric Schmidt was brought into Google [GOOG] in 2001 his job as CEO was to provide 'adult supervision' to the founders: Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
This was important if the company was to have a successful IPO, which it did, in 2004.
Now, nine years later, Messrs Page and Brin are seasoned executives of the most important Internet company in the world. Do they still need 'adult supervision?' Isn't it a bit embarrassing that they still have to share power with Mr Schmidt in what Google describes as a "triumvirate?"
What other large companies have a similar management structure? I can't think of any.
Are the boys grown up? Both will turn 37 years old in a few months.
Do the founders still need 'adult supervision?'
Clearly, they don't and there seem to be signs lately that demonstrate that they asserting their views, over that of Mr Schmidt.
For example, Google's entry into China was at the strong urging of Mr Schmidt, despite the founders strongly held views that censoring their search results was the wrong thing to do.
Now that the company's entire China investment hangs by a thread and its strategy has been shown to have been a mistake -- it must be a hard blow for Mr Schmidt.
Veteran Forbes reporter Elizabeth Corcoran, knows Mr Schmidt well. She has written that:
"he has defined his job not so much as leading Google but as running interference for it--placating the investment community, soothing nervous regulators and policymakers and doing whatever it takes to create a magical force field protecting Googleteers..."
If that's the case, Mr Schmidt's abilities to run interference on behalf of Google appear to be on an extended leave of absence.
Take a look at some of the jams the company has gotten itself into and that clearly lie in the realm of 'running interference:'