Eric Schmidt will depart Alphabet’s board this June, after holding a seat for 18 years. His departure comes just over a year after Schmidt stepped down from his role as Alphabet’s executive chairman — it also comes as Google struggles with internal turmoil over its involvement with US military contracts, potential business in China, and reported cover-ups of sexual misconduct.
Schmidt has been a key presence at Google during his time with the company. He initially took a board seat in 2001, when he was made CEO of Google — a role he was given essentially to lend business expertise to what company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had been building. In 2011, he left the CEO position and become Google’s executive chairman. At the beginning of 2018, he stepped down from that role and became a regular board member.
In a press release today, Alphabet announced that Schmidt would not seek reelection to the board when his term is up, on June 19th. Alphabet says he’ll remain a “technical advisor” to the company, a role he’s had since last year.
Schmidt said that he would be stepping down in order to help “the next generation of talent to serve.” He said he would be teaching more, working at his philanthropic organization, Schmidt Futures, and using his role as technical advisor to “coach Alphabet and Google businesses/tech.”
While Schmidt undoubtedly played a key role in Google becoming the behemoth it is today, his presence may have been a less appreciated one more recently. Just six months ago, Google came under scrutiny when The New York Times reported on sexual misconduct within the company. The report included details of a $150 million payout to Android creator Andy Rubin amid a sexual misconduct inquiry. Schmidt was later named in a lawsuit accusing the company of covering up harassment by multiple executives.