MENLO PARK (AP) — Eric Schmidt is stepping down as the executive chairman of Google parent Alphabet in January.

The company says he will become a technical adviser and will continue to sit on the board.

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Schmidt joined Google in 2001 as CEO, three years after the search giant was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Google launched a new structure in October 2015, making Alphabet a holding company for Google and related businesses. Some of those “other bets” include self-driving cars, smart thermostats and internet-delivering balloons.

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Schmidt said in a statement that he felt the Alphabet structure was working well, with Google and its other bets thriving. He said he plans to spend more time on science and technology issues and philanthropy.

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