When Eric Schmidt was hired in 2001 by the Google, he inherited a daunting task: help visionary co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page grow their company into a tech power player. Schmidt, a computer scientist at heart, had held executive leadership positions at Sun Microsystems and Novell, but one of his essential duties was to meet the founders’ creative energy with executive authority and a honed focus. The collaboration succeeded and the trio indeed grew Google, now Alphabet, into the fourth-largest technology company in the world.
From his hiring to 2011, Schmidt served as the company’s CEO, followed by nearly another decade as an executive advisor, before stepping down in 2020. Now, with his years leading the innovative tech giant, he is turning his focus to larger-picture problems and solutions, including educating the next generation of computer scientists. As a member of the Board of Visitors for the University of California, Berkeley, where Schmidt spent his post-graduate years, the former executive advises officials on effective long-term strategies for the institution.
After attaining a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the esteemed Princeton University, Schmidt pursued computer science at Berkeley, graduating in 1981 with his PhD. During his time at the university, he innovated the foundation for the school’s IT network and contemplated the challenges of distributed software development. His expertise helped Google pioneer collaborative web-based applications through the Google Workplace (formerly G-Suite) collection of productivity tools, currently used by tens of millions worldwide. In 2020, after years as ambassador and advisor to the Alphabet, Inc. conglomerate, Schmidt is now dedicated to making the world run more efficiently.
In response to COVID-19, the semi-retired tech mogul was recruited by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to recreate the state’s systems and practices, fueled by Schmidt Futures—a philanthropic venture co-founded with Eric’s wife, Wendy. At a time of global crisis, Schmidt is determined to help reinforce telehealth and broadband systems across the state, while speaking out as an advocate for breaking new ground in rapid testing for the disease. While other leaders are trapped in an echo chamber of uncertainty, Eric Schmidt continues to provide expert guidance within his circles and beyond.