SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc CEO Larry Page, who plans to skip several high-profile events in coming weeks after losing his voice, told employees there was “nothing seriously wrong with me,” according to a source who had seen an internal staff memo.
Page sat out his company’s annual shareholders’ meeting on Thursday. The 39-year-old Google co-founder is resting his voice because of an unspecified condition, and he will miss Google’s annual developer conference next week as well as its quarterly results announcement next month, executives said on Thursday without elaborating.
Page’s prolonged absence from the public spotlight raises questions about his condition, and the company’s obligation to highlight issues of concern to shareholders.
Corporate governance experts say Google has met minimal disclosure requirements but will face increasing pressure while Page remains out of sight.
On Friday, Google’s shares rose 1.1 percent to $571.48, lifted along with the rest of the Nasdaq.
“It gets them over the first disclosure hurdle, that is they’ve alerted shareholders to the fact he’s going to have this health effect,” said James Post, a professor of management at Boston University who focuses on corporate governance issues.
“It’s OK for them not to say that. As more information emerges from other sources, the tough questions still lie ahead, and there will be continued pressure to keep answering those tough questions.”
Google would not comment on its CEO’s medical condition on Friday.
Page, co-founder Sergey Brin and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt control a majority of the Internet company through special shares that give them more voting power.
That capital structure, emulated by a new generation of Web companies from Facebook Inc to Zynga Inc, grants founders enormous influence over their companies.
Reporting By Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Gary Hill