Google Inc Chief Executive Larry Page recently made a statement reassuring employees of his health, although on Friday, June 22nd, the company hinted to a condition affecting his voice and sidelining him from two important events in the following weeks.
Larry Page, 39, sent an email on Thursday, June 21st, to his employees saying that ‘there’s nothing seriously wrong with me’. But Page already lost his company’s annual shareholders’ meeting on Thursday, because he had lost his voice, and this will also make him miss Google’s annual developer conference next week and its quarterly results announcement in July.
Page was asked to rest his , but his long absence from the public spotlight raises suspicions about his health. The company refused to give any further information.
“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 specializes in corporate governance issues. “The tough questions still lie ahead, and there will be continued pressure to keep answering those tough questions.”
Although senior business executives prefer to keep health matter out of public sight, public company CEOs have the responsibility to inform a wide set of constituents about material information. This issue became a focus point a few years ago after Apple was criticized for not revealing information about the health of CEO Steve Jobs, who died in October 2011, after a long fight with pancreatic cancer.
“With the concerns over Steve Jobs, people are quick to jump to a conclusion that may not be the right conclusion to jump to,” said Needham & company analyst Kerry Rice.
Wall Street analysts seem very concerned about this issue, since Page, Schmidt and co-founder Sergey Brin, have majority control of the Internet company through special voting shares. If there was not a serious health problem, then why ruling Page out of the 2Q, which a few weeks away? Simon Best, a head and neck surgery specialist at the Johns Hopkins Voice Center, said that doctors recommend voice rest to a patient when he has vocal chord hemorrhage, or throat surgery.
“We actually very rarely put people on complete voice rest where they are not cleared to talk or allowed to talk,” West said. “There are probably some practice differences between physicians and whoever is treating him, but there are only two scenarios where we put people on voice rest: if they’ve had vocal cord surgery, or if they’ve had a vocal chord hemorrhage.”
On Thursday, June 21st, co-founder Sergey Brin tried to lighten things up saying that “this problem will make Larry a better CEO because he’s going to have to choose his words very carefully.”