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He served as CEO from 2001 to 2011, overseeing Google's landmark IPO and meteoric rise, before becoming executive chairman.

Former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt announced Thursday he has stepped down from his role as executive chairman of the search giant's parent company Alphabet. Leaving the post after 17 years, Schmidt will remain with the company as a technical advisor in science and technology issues.

Schmidt's stint as executive chairman is to end at a regularly-scheduled board meeting next month, according to Alphabet.

No reason was provided for the change.

Alphabet's not offering much insight into why a shift is taking place once again, but Page echoed Schmidt's general positivity in the same statement.

Schmidt has been with Google in some capacity or another since 2001, when he was brought into the company by Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

His real break in business came when he joined Sun Microsystems, where he rose through the ranks to become president of Sun Technology Enterprises. "The Alphabet structure is working well, and Google and the Other Bets are thriving", said Schmidt.

After a number of years as CEO of Novell, Schmidt was interviewed by the founders of Google and, greatly impressed, they hired him as CEO in charge of Google's daily operations.

In October 2015, Alphabet became the parent holding company of Google. He worked with company cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to grow Google into the publicly-traded superpower it is today.

Other companies in the lawsuit which reached earlier settlements included eBay, Lucasfilm, Pixar and Intuit.

Forbes, which ranked Schmidt at No. 119 on its list of the world's billionaires, calculates that the outgoing chairman has net worth of $11.1 billion.

Schmidt is also known to speak out on technology issues, expressing concerns about matters such as online spying and barriers to the free-flow of data.