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1Eric Schmidt Hands Reigns Back to Page

When the VCs really started pouring money into Google, the strings attached were that Sergey Brin and Larry Page step aside for a more mature CEO to lead corporate development. Since 2001, Eric Schmidt helped grow Google into a powerhouse. A decade later, he is giving the leadership role back to Page in favor of a less public spot as Executive Chairman of Google’s board.

2Hurd Ousted at HP, Flees to Oracle

In perhaps the biggest tech scandal of 2010, Mark Hurd was kicked out of the corner office at HP following evidence of improper relations with a subordinate. Larry Ellison, a tech totem hardly allergic to controversy, immediately welcomed him at Oracle with open arms as president and a member of the board.

3Apotheker Slides into HP Top Spot

The sucking power vacuum left behind by Hurd caused a disturbance at SAP when its former CEO Lee Apotheker joined in the game of executive musical chairs to take the helm at HP, taking refuge there amid his flagging results at SAP that caused his board there to refuse to re-up his contract beyond 2010.

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Just six months after the Hurd fallout, HP was re-examining its decision to get rid of him. Four of the board members involved in Hurd’s exile were pushed out in early 2011. Two of the replacements are familiar faces in the tech world: Meg Whitman of eBay and California gubernatorial running fame and Patricia Russo, former CEO at Alcatel-Lucent.

5Tim Cook Takes Over For Ailing Jobs, Again

For the third time in a decade, Steve Jobs announced this month that he is temporarily giving up day -to-day leadership to Tim Cook in order to convalesce. Jobs was quiet on the cause of this medical leave of absence, but as was the case during his 2004 treatment for pancreatic cancer and his 2009 liver transplant, Cook will serve as acting CEO.

6Stephen Elop Departs Microsoft to Lead Nokia

Microsoftie Stephen Elop left his post as president of Microsoft’s Business Division for an opportunity to bring some relevance back to Nokia in the smartphone wars as the phone-maker’s CEO. Hardly a newbie at such a position, Elop was CEO for Macromedia during the Adobe acquisition and held court as Jupiter’s COO before moving to Microsoft.

7Bob Muglia Seeks Opportunities Outside of Microsoft

Microsoft recently the announcement of yet another division leader with the impending departure of Bob Muglia. A 22-year veteran of the company, Muglia has been the head of the Servers and Tools Business for Microsoft for two years, growing that division by 12 percent in that time.

8Ray Ozzie Leaves Microsoft

Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie, who wrote of a transition in the industry towards services and the cloud and away from more comfortable and traditional business models, left Microsoft in October 2010. In his personal blog he noted the progress Microsoft had made through services such as Azure and Bing, but also wrote that the company still had a long way to go.

9EMC Brings On Burton as Companys first CMO

At Symantec and Oracle, Jeremy Burton was vociferous in his taunting at EMC. Now he’s tasked with being the company’s staunchest supporter and spokesperson, taking over as the firm’s first ever chief marketing officer.

10SAP Goes with Co-CEOs After Apotheker

The German software juggernaut may well have considered its dalliance with a singular rock-star CEO a failure following Apotheker’s falling sales numbers and mounting customer criticisms. The company returned to its familiar co-CEO structure by replacing Apotheker with two men already on SAP’s board: Bill McDermott, head of field organization and Jim Hagemann Snabe, head of product development.

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Skype Steals Tony Bates From CiscoSkype scored a major coup late last year when it poached Cisco’s general manager of the Enterprise, Commercial and Small Business Division, Tony Bates, to be its new CEO. Bates will draw on his experience as the head of a division that drew in over $20 billion a year to build Skype into a credible business telecommunications force.