NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 27: Co-founder of Google Larry Page smiles during the Clinton Global Inititative annual meeting September 27, 2007 in New York. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Larry Page
Google co-founder and chief executive Larry Page has dropped more than 25 projects, cut back on e-mail and made the typical hour-long meeting only 50 minutes.
In essence, Page has become a strong ruler of the tech giant, asking executives to meet with him weekly to give him updates, according to the New York Times. Of course, under his short reign Google has also acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, not exactly a cost-cutting measure.
“Ever since taking over as C.E.O., I have focused much of my energy on increasing Google’s velocity and execution, and we’re beginning to see results,” Page, 38, told analysts recently.
Page, who's been known as a standoffish nerd, has become more gregarious in public appearances, especially after being lambasted for his seemingly disinterested debut on a Google earnings call. Now that quiet, eager-to-leave engineer has been replaced with someone who knows that he's the face of the company and has to act the part. "I'm excited to be on the call," he said recently.
The Times article states that the problem with Google was that it "had ballooned so quickly — it now has more than 31,000 employees and $27.3 billion in revenue so far this year — that it had become sclerotic." It's strange that publications say this, when Apple has more than 60,000 employees -- twice the size of Google -- and no technology journalist seems to state Apple is bloated.
It's debatable if Page, co-founder Sergey Brin and former CEO Eric Schmidt, all had to agree on decisions -- but now the decisions are made by Page. “When Eric was there, you’d walk into a product meeting or a senior staff meeting, and everyone got to weigh in on every decision," an unnamed Google executive told the Times. "Larry is much more willing to make an O.K. decision and make it now, rather than a perfect decision later.”
We're not sure that Google was ever in the weeds, as several journalists have reported. However, Page's leadership seems to eschew democracy in favor of being known as a benevolent dictator. For many CEOs trying to change the direction of their company, that role may be the only way to ensure it's staying on course.