* Rejects accusations Google is losing key talent
* Says no disagreement with Larry Page on strategy
* Will continue indexing WikiLeaks material
(Adds comments on Page, WikiLeaks)
MUNICH, Germany, Jan 25 Google's (GOOG.O) Chief
Executive Eric Schmidt said he expected to spend another 10
years at the company, after his surprise handover last week to
co-founder Larry Page.
Schmidt, who from April will focus on deals and government
outreach as executive chairman, also said the group would hire
thousands of people this year, rejecting accusations that it has
struggled to keep its best talent from leaving for Facebook and
other Silicon Valley rivals.
"I'm very personally excited about my next decade at
Google," Schmidt, who oversaw Google's meteoric rise, told the
DLD media conference in Munich on Tuesday.
He told Reuters on Jan. 21 that his move was an effort to
speed up decision-making. [ID:nLDE70K06O]
"In strategy we agree. There's no disagreement," Schmidt
said of his relationship with Page, in a news conference
following his DLD appearance.
"In character, he's fundamentally a deeper thinker than
anybody else," he said. "He sees a few moves deeper than I do."
Schmidt is also set to get a $100 million equity award, his
first since joining the company in 2001, which will vest over
four years and includes stock units and options.
Google last week reported earnings and revenue that far
exceeded expectations. [ID:nN20114431]
But while Google has dominated Internet search, it has
struggled with social networking and is facing stiff competition
from companies like Facebook and Twitter, which are stealing web
traffic and perceived to be poaching engineering talent.
Schmidt rejected the notion that Google was losing key
people. "Our retention has been actually the same and our
turnover has been exactly the same for seven years," he said.
"We're going to be hiring many thousands of people this year."
Schmidt said that in his new role he would be able to spend
more time on government issues and Google's public image, among
"We've got very complicated government issues, he said,
adding however that Google's position in China appeared to be
stable for the time being, following a renewal of its licence
there last June.
Google threatened to pull out of China after a high-profile
hacking incident but eventually came to an agreement with the
government and now runs a reduced service.
"I think it's stable, he said, before adding: "You never
know. It's possible for the government of China to cause us not
Schmidt said Google had considered stopping indexing
confidential cables released by WikiLeaks, but had decided to
carry on. Some other U.S. organisations have bowed to government
pressure to stop cooperating with the controversial site.
"Has Google looked at the appropriateness of indexing
WikiLeaks? The answer is yes, and we decided to continue," he
said. "Because it's legal."
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Jane Merriman and