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Eric Schmidt, the former Google CEO, will step down as executive chairman of Google's parent company Alphabet.

On Thursday, the technology giant announced that Schmidt, who served as Google CEO from 2001 to 2011, would transition into a role as "technical advisor" to the company in January. He will still remain on the company's board.

“Larry [Page], Sergey [Brin], Sundar [Pichai] and I all believe that the time is right in Alphabet’s evolution for this transition," said Schmidt in a statement. “In recent years, I’ve been spending a lot of my time on science and technology issues, and philanthropy, and I plan to expand that work.”

A company spokesperson declined to answer further questions about Schmidt leaving the position. The company said it expects the board to appoint a nonexecutive chair to replace Schmidt.

Schmidt came to Google in 2001 after serving as the CEO of software firm Novell, and founders Brin and Page appointed him to the main leadership role. In April 2011, Page replaced Schmidt as chief executive of Google, which rearranged itself into Alphabet in 2015.

A major philanthropist and Democratic donor, Schmidt in his recent role as chair served as one of the company's main liaisons to the White House, appearing at several meetings with President Donald Trump.

“Since 2001, Eric has provided us with business and engineering expertise and a clear vision about the future of technology,” said Alphabet CEO Larry Page in a statement. “Continuing his 17 years of service to the company, he’ll now be helping us as a technical advisor on science and technology issues."

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