SAN FRANCISCO - Google has unveiled a surprise shakeup of its top management, announcing that co-founder Larry Page will replace Eric Schmidt as chief executive of the internet giant in April.
Google said Schmidt would remain with the company as executive chairman, focusing on "deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships."
He would act as an adviser to Page and Google's other co-founder, Sergey Brin, who would work on strategic projects and new products.
The management changes were due to take effect on April 4.
"We've been talking about how best to simplify our management structure and speed up decision making for a long time," Schmidt said in a statement.
"By clarifying our individual roles we'll create clearer responsibility and accountability at the top of the company.
"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," he added.
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.
"Google still has such incredible opportunity - we are only at the beginning and I can't wait to get started."
The company reported that net profit rose to US$2.54 billion in the fourth quarter from $1.97 billion in the same quarter a year ago.
Revenue was up 26 per cent to $8.44 billion over the same period last year.