Google CEO Larry Page signaled to Wall Street today that he no longer wants to handle routine quarterly calls. During today’s conference call with analysts announcing third quarter results, Page said he might skip them in the future, retreating into the background when it’s time to report financial performance.
The CEO chose a high note on which to take a bow, as Google’s stock jumped more than 70 points after results came out, wowing investors.
Page, who has a chronic throat and voice ailment, is a man of few words and has previously refrained from public speaking because of his condition. However, he didn’t indicate that his decision to hold back was related to health issues.
Page just said that he wants to "prioritize" his time.
He wouldn’t be the first chief to miss Wall Street meetings—Apple’s Steve Jobs, before his death, was known for skipping the formal question-and-answer sessions with analysts.
During yesterday’s call, Google showed off its earnings from the quarter ending in September, and topped forecasts. The company’s $14.9 billion in revenue beat analysts' expectations of $14.8 billion for the three-month period. Earnings of $10.74 a share also exceeded predictions.
Google’s stock went from $889 a share to $962 by 5 p.m. today, and if the gains hold, the company will be at a record value when Wall Street opens for business tomorrow. The report wasn’t all good, however, with Google's ad business still being negatively affected by the lower cost of clicks on mobile devices. The costs per click were down 8 percent year over year. Last quarter, costs per click were only down 6 percent versus the year-ago quarter.
But Google executives are quick to downplay the hiccup in advertising rates. "We focus on the user and the advertiser ROI,” said Nikesh Arora, Google’s chief business officer, in the call.
The company said costs per click are going down because of a number of factors—only one of which is the shift of users from desktop to mobile devices.
Google has been pushing its “enhanced campaigns,” which allow advertisers to set up promotions across all devices.
“Enhanced campaigns is a great platform that enables us for the future,” Arora said.
Revenue from Google sites was still up 22 percent year over year in the third quarter to $9.4 billion.