|Page, left, praised outgoing CEO Schmidt as a 'tremendous leader' [Reuters]
Larry Page, the co-founder of internet giant Google Inc, has been announced as the company's new chief executive, replacing Eric Schmidt who will become executive chairman.
The surprise announcement of the shake-up at the top of Google on Thursday came as it reported better-than-expected quarterly results.
Page, who created the popular search engine with Sergey Brin, will take over day-to-day running of the company in April.
"Day-to-day adult supervision no longer needed!" Schmidt said in a message on his Twitter feed @ericschmidt.
In a statement, Schmidt, who was made Google CEO in 2001 to provide greater management experience at the youthful company, explained that the decision had been taken to "simplify our management structure and speed up decision making".
"By clarifying our individual roles, we'll create clearer responsibility and accountability at the top of the company," he said.
"In my clear opinion, Larry is ready to lead and I'm excited about working with both him and Sergey for a long time to come."
Aaron Kessler, an ananlyst at Thinkequity, said that Page had probably now gained the experience necessary to run operations at the internet giant.
"Initially Larry and Sergey were pretty young when Google started, so maybe they weren't prepared at that point to run the day-to-day operations of Google.
"But at this point they've been involved for several years now, and are in a better position to really run the company as opposed to just being in the founder role."
Page praised Schmidt as a "tremendous leader" who did an "outstanding job leading Google for the last decade".
"There is no other CEO in the world that could have kept such headstrong founders so deeply involved and still run the business so brilliantly," he said.
Competing with Facebook
Brin also got a new role in Thursday's overhaul of the management structure working on strategic projects and new products, which he described as his "personal passions".
"Google is trying to get more efficient and trying to get a tech guy in the seat to compete with Facebook," Brian Pitz, a UBS analyst, said. "I don't think it changes anything strategically where the company is headed."
Google's reported on Thursday that net profit rose to $2.54 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010 from $1.97 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue was up 26 per cent to $8.44 billion from the same period last year.
"Our strong performance has been driven by a rapidly growing digital economy and by the extraordinary momentum of our newer businesses, such as display and mobile," Schmidt said.
"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," he said.
Shares were up 1.79 per cent to 638.00 dollars in after-hours electronic trading after the earnings results and the management changes were announced.