Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the two co-founders of Google, have announced their intention to step down as executives of parent firm Alphabet.
The reins will be passed on to current Google chief Sundar Pichai, who will hold the role of chief executive at both Google and Alphabet going forward.
“With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure,” said Page and Brin in a letter.
“We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a president.”
The pair said they plan to “remain actively involved as board members, shareholders and co-founders”, and provide regular insight to Pichai.
Both Brin and Page have retreated from the public eye in recent years, including at shareholder meetings, leading to speculation as to the future of their roles in the company.
Pichai informed Google staff of the change earlier today in an email, writing: “To be clear that this transition won’t affect the Alphabet structure or the work we do day to day.”
“I will continue to be very focused on Google and the deep work we’re doing to push the boundaries of computing and build a more helpful Google for everyone. At the same time, I’m excited about Alphabet and its long term focus on tackling big challenges through technology,” he added.
Brin and Page founded Google in 1998 while studying at Stanford University in California, and together own roughly 14 per cent of the company’s shares as Alphabet’s largest individual investors. They also retain more than 50 per cent of the firm’s supervoting rights.
Google listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2004, and was reorganised as a subsidiary under parent firm Alphabet in 2015.
The two co-founders concluded: “We are deeply humbled to have seen a small research project develop into a source of knowledge and empowerment for billions — a bet we made as two Stanford students that led to a multitude of other technology bets. We could not have imagined, back in 1998 when we moved our servers from a dorm room to a garage, the journey that would follow.”