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Larry Page may not take over the reins as Google’s chief executive until next week, but he’s already begun cracking the whip amongst senior management, including holding daily brainstorm sessions at the search behemoth’s headquarters, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Page is reportedly trying to streamline the organization ahead of his succession from Eric Schmidt, who Google says will stay on to oversee the company’s outside relationships, but who is also widely rumored to be becoming President Barack Obama’s new commerce secretary.
Page (pictured) officially begins his new role on April 4.
As part of Page’s new management regime, one-on-one sessions are being held daily with top execs such as engineering head Jeff Huber, legal head Jeff Drummond, product vice president Jonathan Rosenberg and YouTube overseer Salar Kamangar.
But Page isn’t only focused on the top brass at Google.
The Journal reports he recently issued a company-wide directive instructing managers to keep emails describing what they are working on in 60 words or less.
They will also not be allowed to work on their laptops during meetings — an ironic stance for a man who once famously refused to look up from his PDA to talk to Barry Diller during the early days of Google, saying he was capable of doing several things at once.
The new guidelines reportedly have some developers and employees nervous about the future of their freedom to work on projects organically, a worry that has grown increasingly more public in recent weeks.
Said The Journal:
Some managers believe Mr. Page will eliminate or downgrade projects he doesn’t believe are worthwhile, freeing up employees to work on more important initiatives, these people said. One project expected to get less support is Google Health, which lets people store medical records and other health data on Google’s servers, said people familiar with the matter.
So what does that mean for other, more recent acquisitions that have thus far managed to retain some form of autonomy within Google, like social-networking-related application maker Slide, a company acquired for $179 million last year?
Well, so far Page has said he wants to return Google to return to its “its startup roots,” including allowing more projects to operate like startups inside of the company, the way YouTube and Android currently function.
But with micromanaging already beginning before he takes the top spot, it may be wise for those units to start thinking of Plan B. Especially the ones focused on social networking.