google triumvirateThe big news in Google’s quarterly earnings call this afternoon was the shift at the top of the company, with Eric Schmidt stepping down from his role as chief executive while continuing on at Google as executive chairman and co-founder Larry Page taking his place.

Schmidt, Page, and co-founder Sergey Brin answered a few questions about the change, which is scheduled to take effect April 4. The big emphasis was on continuity. Until now, Schmidt said, the three men have led the company as a “triumvirate.” And while the change simplifies the structure and gives them better-defined individual roles, they’ll still discuss all of the big decisions together.

“I don’t anticipate any material changes in any of our strategies,” Schmidt said, adding that the three men plan to continue working together for a long time.

Still, the event did feel a bit like a retirement party, or at least like the torch was being passed. Brin and Page kept praising Schmidt for the great job he’d done. Schmidt, meanwhile, said “Larry is ready … It’s time for him to have a shot at running this.” (Page was Google’s first CEO, but he stepped down from that role when the company hired Schmidt in 2001.)

“A decade’s a long time to be a CEO,” Schmidt concluded. “I’m very much looking forward to the new role, a more strategic role.”

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