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Google awards Schmidt $100m

Eric Schmidt has led Google since 2001, three years before the company went public in August 2004. Eric Schmidt has led Google since 2001, three years before the company went public in August 2004. (Kimberly White/ Reuters/ File 2009)
Associated Press / January 25, 2011

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NEW YORK — Google Inc. has awarded $100 million worth of equity to Eric Schmidt, who is stepping aside as chief executive but will stay with the company as executive chairman.

Google said in a regulatory filing yesterday the stock and stock options will be granted on Feb. 2 and will vest over four years. The magnitude of the award is “unusual’’ for an executive who is transitioning out of the chief executive role — and may even be unusual for sitting chief executives, said David Wise, senior principal at management consulting firm Hay Group. But given Schmidt’s success, “the board clearly wants to retain his guidance for the next four years.’’

Schmidt, 55, is being replaced as Google’s chief executive by cofounder Larry Page. Both men, along with Google’s other cofounder Sergey Brin, have limited their salaries to $1 for years. But the three are Google’s controlling shareholders and Schmidt’s net worth is about $5.45 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

Page, 37, takes over as chief executive in April. Schmidt summed up the seismic shift at Google’s helm in a Twitter post last week that said, “Day-to-day adult supervision no longer needed!’’

Schmidt has led Google since 2001, three years before the company went public in August 2004. Google’s market capitalization is now about $196 billion. Though it faces a formidable crop of young new rivals, notably Facebook, Google so far has managed to stay on top of the online advertising food chain, relying mainly on its search prowess but flexing its muscles in other areas too.