Political Ambition, Sexual Secrets - Why Did Eric Schmidt Step Down at Alphabet?

© AFP 2023 / DANI POZOFormer Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt
Former Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt - Sputnik International
Trent Lapinski, a former Silicon Valley startup CEO and consultant in the tech industry, shared his views with Sputnik on possible reasons for Eric Schmidt's recent resignation as CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet.

Schmidt announced that he was stepping down Thursday. Radio Sputnik's Fault Lines show hosts Garland Nixon and Lee Stranahan invited Lapinski, a crypto blockchain consultant in the tech industry, to discuss the news.

​Speaking with Lapinski, the hosts recalled that Schmidt is known to be a "serial womanizer," and that despite being married to Wendy Schmidt, he openly had relationships with numerous other women. The Schmidts are reported to have an open marriage.

[The interview starts at 160:26]


With all the recent sexual scandals riddling Hollywood, the US Congress and a number of media organizations, it is little wonder that Nixon and Stranahan drew a connection between this news and Schmidt's resignation.

Lapinski, however, offered a different kind of connection.

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According to Lapinski, it is notable that Schmidt's resignation was announced mere hours after US President Donald Trump issued an executive order that blocks transactions of the property of persons involved in human rights abuses, human trafficking and corruption.

During the 2016 US presidential race, Schmidt played an instrumental role in Hillary Clinton's campaign, acting as what Lapinski called a "CTO" of the campaign. This became known when Clinton campaign chair John Podesta's emails were shared on WikiLeaks. The emails revealed Schmidt secretly funded the Groundwork Foundation, a top technology provider for Clinton.

"He has been in a position of power in Google that was unprecedented." Lapinski said. "We haven't seen a CEO of one of the world's most powerful companies having his hands down in politics for, gosh, seventy years."

In fact, Schmidt has a long list of political connections. According to the New York Post, "some people internally referred to his role as ‘Google's secretary of state.'"

"During President Barack Obama's administration, Mr. Schmidt, who has supported many Democratic politicians, prominently represented Google on policy matters," the newspaper writes. With Trump in office, though, Schmidt has become "eclipsed" by other Google employees, it says.

Schmidt's romantic lifestyle could come into play if he decides to proceed with his political aspirations. In a time when US senators are resigning over sexual abuse allegations, going into politics with an open marriage record is "something new," as the radio hosts put it.

"In Washington, cheating is not new. Not being monogamous is not new. That's done all time. But being in an open marriage? That's uncharted political territory," the hosts point out.

"He's definitely not operating on spectrum of your standard Washington, DC, politician," Lapinski agrees. "He's used to operating from the shadows."

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If Schmidt enters the political arena, he must expect his lifestyle to have an impact. It may actuall force him to stay "in the shadows," Lapinski said. "He probably will have to continue to secretly fund startups like he has been. And he'll probably continue to do that. He is a puppet master."

"He's a guy who doesn't exactly have a track record of transparency."

Lapinski says he can't imagine how Schmidt is going to fare in Washington. Schmidt in his announcement said he is going to move into philanthropy, "whatever that means," Lapinski scoffed.

Tech executives getting involved in philanthropy "usually hasn't work out all too well," he noted.

Lapinski also pointed out that for a Silicon Valley CEO to go to Washington would be even an stranger move, as Silicon Valley companies typically refrain from openly engaging in politics, even though some, like Google, have supported political protests in the recent past.

Trump has not visited the Bay Area since his rise to the Oval Office, although he was once a frequent visitor to San Francisco. Considering the US economy depends greatly on stock markets and Silicon Valley right now "is the stock market," in Lapinski's words, the disconnect between tech companies and the White House is only growing

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