Larry Page, CEO of Google Inc. certainly idolized Apple cofounder and former CEO, Steve Jobs, but he is not going to emulate the way Jobs acted secretly about his health issues.
On Tuesday, in a very lengthy post on Google +, one day before Google’s big developer conference, Google I/O, told the world he has a paralyzed vocal cord and the other one is also suffering from nerve damage, which is why he has been having trouble with his voice over the last year.
Throughout the last year, Page has missed one of Google’s earnings conference calls, Google I/O and a shareholder meeting. This problem doesn’t allow Larry Page to speak for long periods of time. Many might believe that this situation could seriously hamper a CEOs career, but it’s not holding back Page from doing his job at all.
Page wrote that Sergey Brin, Google cofounder “says I’m probably a better CEO because I choose my words more carefully.” He also mentioned that the vocal cord nerve issues can negatively affect one’s breathing, “so my ability to exercise at peak aerobic capacity is somewhat reduced,” wrote Page. “That said, my friends still think I have way more stamina than them when we go kitesurfing!”
Being so open about this situation is very different from the way that Steve Jobs handled his situation when he had surgery for a rare form of pancreatic cancer. Jobs chose not to disclose the information to the shareholders at Apple until afterwards. A few years later he even misled investors with his explanation as being vague in regards to his weight loss. This raised a lot of eyebrows on Wall Street.
Warren Buffett, CEO and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, was much more open in his approach last year, when he mentioned to his investors that he was diagnosed with stage I prostate cancer. He told investors that his prognosis was good, but he also let everyone know that he would inform them if his health changed in the negative. Buffett was critical of the way Steve Jobs handled his health disclosures, when he told CNBC in 2009 that “it’s a material fact.”
In the end, it falls on the shoulders of Sergey Brin, Chairman Eric Schmidt and Larry Page himself to figure out whether or not his limited voice is dampening his ability to work as Google CEO. With the structure of Google’s dual class stock, the three individuals just mentioned ultimately have control of voting rights that dictate Google’s destiny.
But investors were glad that the voice issues were explained. Many feel that it is better late than never.