Google CEO bowing out of earnings calls

Comes as firm reports increased net income of $1.96 bil

Google is growing profit and revenue and hiring lots of people, but its chief executive is too busy to deliver the good news himself.

The giant Internet search company said that CEO Eric Schmidt doesn't intend on taking part in the company's earnings calls anymore, beginning with the one held Thursday.

Patrick Pichette, the CFO, told analysts not to read anything nefarious into the decision. "It does not mean that Eric is not available," he said.

It's also not unheard of. Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple -- which is becoming a Google rival in some respects -- also doesn't normally make an appearance during earnings calls.

Google reported net income of $1.96 billion in the first quarter, 38% more than in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue increased 23% to $6.77 billion.

The company hired 800 workers during the quarter, making a significant dent in its goal of hiring 2,000 during 2010, and ended the period with 20,621 employees, the most in its history.

"We are continuing to invest heavily in people, products and acquisitions," Pichette said.

Susan Wojcicki, the vp of product management who also was on the call, spoke of improvements in search ads that will make them "more useful, and therefore more high performing." She also said there will be an ability to "call through" ads appearing on smart phones.

Google's ad rates increased 7% from the year-earlier period but decreased 4% compared with the fourth quarter.

While Google shares were up 1% to $595.30 during regular trading, they fell by more than $27 per share during the after-hours session.
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