Think of the businesses that run your world. You probably think of oil companies, car companies, food companies, and the like. It’s less likely that you think about one of the companies that has the most influence on your day-to-day life; Google, and its parent company, Alphabet.
Now, in news that has rocked the tech world, Eric Schmidt, the head of Alphabet, announced he will be stepping down from his position as CEO of one of the most powerful companies on the planet.
Schmidt was originally chosen to be the CEO of Alphabet because, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, they were looking for someone in 2001 who could provide “adult supervision” for Brin and fellow co-founder Larry Page. Now, Schmidt is leaving to pursue other endeavors.
According to Eric Schmidt himself, he is leaving the CEO position of the most powerful company in the world because he wants to pursue his philanthropic work and to devote more of his time to developing new technologies, something he has not been able to do while at Alphabet. He also claims to wish to spend time and effort in working toward ‘sustainability,’ one of the cornerstones of the work his foundation performs.
According to those who work closely with him, Eric Schmidt is preparing to leave Alphabet because he wants to invest time and money in a new project, and hopes to be able to be to take a more ‘hands-on’ role in the development of Artificial Intelligence for various defense projects.
But there is another side to the story, a suspicion of a different reason for Schmidt to depart from the most powerful corporate position that the world has to offer; a past of womanizing and fear that it may come back to cause issues for him.
According to those who interact with Schmidt regularly, Eric Schmidt is a known womanizer, and has been for quite some time. Even his wife, Wendy Schmidt, with whom Eric has been married for 37 years, noticed Eric’s tendency to womanize, commenting that it made her feel like she was “a piece of luggage” simply following him around the world on his travels, not a partner in those travels.
Google insiders suggest that news outlets and their reporters, sensing blood in the water and hoping for a Harvey Weinstein-style bomb that can make their careers and bring them fame and fortune for taking down a powerful person. However, according to those who work with Eric Schmidt, “They haven’t found s***. Because there is no sexual harassment. There has never been any issue. They have had nothing. People have looked into it and people have not found anything.” This same source went on to say, and rightly so, that if Google or Alphabet suspected any wrongdoing on Schmidt’s part, it would be in their best interest to remove him from his position rather than suffer potential embarrassment and increased scrutiny.
Another source near Schmidt said the same thing, suggesting that Eric Schmidt was not guilty of any wrongdoing. However, Google and Alphabet insiders could not deny that Eric Schmidt had a long and documented past of romantic entanglements, all of which they claimed were consensual. They also point out, however, that there exist no complaints against Eric Schmidt and the company hasn’t paid out any settlements for any claims against Eric Schmidt.
Indeed, Schmidt’s affairs are well-recorded in gossip outlets. It’s been said he had affairs with TV presenter Kate Bohner, the former TV personality and current head of communications, research, and marketing for DMS Offshore, as well as with Marcy Simon, a public relations executive who he later hired temporarily to work on the Android team in 2007 while they were having an affair. It is also alleged that he had a relationship with Danya Perry, a high-ranking lawyer in the services of the wealthy Ronald Perelman. Sources reported that he also spent time with Ulla Parker, well-known New York City socialite and ex-wife of Kevin Parker, a New York City insider.
Speculation among Google and Alphabet staff concerning the resignation is running rampant. Some employees suggest that the resignation is just due to the current #MeToo climate and the ease with which one claim could tarnish Google’s reputation. Others question if the timing of Schmidt’s resignation, along with the odd way that Google hid the information of Eric Schmidt stepping down for three days before making a public announcement.
The #MeToo movement is quickly taking on the appearance of a witch hunt, with the accusation being more important than the evidence. Perhaps, given his history, Eric Schmidt was fearful that the accusation would not just dethrone him from his powerful position, but also dethrone Google.