Google co-founder Page back as CEO

Read a profile with Google UK chief executive Matt Brittin in next week’s Marketing Week.

Google co-founder Larry Page is to take over as chief executive of the search giant in April.

The move is part of an overhaul of the company’s senior management team to “streamline decision making” as it looks to bolster its position in the face of competition from fast-growing rivals like Facebook.

Page replaces Eric Schmidt, who steps down after ten years to become executive chairman. Schmidt will focus on “deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships”.

The moves brings Page back into the role he relinquished to Schmidt a decade ago when he came under pressure from investors to hand the reigns to a more experienced executive.

It also comes as competition for advertising revenue from faster growing tech rivals like Facebook heats up.

Schmidt says that the changes, which also see co-founder Sergey Brin switch to work on new product development, will make the company more “streamlined”.

He adds: “By clarifying our individual roles we’ll create clearer responsibility and accountability at the top of the company.”

The news came as Google announced revenue for the three months to 31 December rose 26% to $8.44bn, driven by increases in display and mobile advertising revenue.

Schmidt says of the quarterly results: “Our strong performance has been driven by a rapidly growing digital economy, continuous product innovation that benefits both users and advertisers, and by the extraordinary momentum of our newer businesses, such as display and mobile. These results give us the optimism and confidence to invest heavily in future growth – investments that will benefit our users, Google and the wider web.”

Net profit in the fourth quarter was $2.54bn, up from $1.97bn in the same period last year.

UK revenue totaled $878m, 10% of the company’s fourth quarter revenue, compared to 12% in the same period last year.