Google has awarded outgoing CEO Eric Schmidt with US$100m worth of equity. Co-founder Larry Page will take over as CEO of the world’s No 1 internet property on 4 April, but Schmidt will remain at Google as executive chairman.
Schmidt has led Google since 2001 and saw the company’s shares grow six-fold. The company has a market capitalisation of US$196bn.
Schmidt holds 2.9pc of Google stock and has just under 10pc of the voting power.
The payout to Schmidt emerged in a regulatory SEC filing yesterday. The stock options will be granted on 2 February and will vest over the course of four years.
The US$100m payment sends a powerful signal to the markets that Schmidt is still seen as a key driving force at Google and that no doubt the triumvirate that has run the company for the past decade will remain in place.
It emerged last week that Page will take over as CEO while co-founder Sergey Brin will focus on product development.
It is likely that 2011 will be the year of social for Google, which despite being the world’s biggest internet company has yet to successfully penetrate social networking and it is believed Brin’s attentions will be focused in this direction.