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Jan 25 (Reuters) – Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG)
outgoing Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said on Tuesday he
expected to spend another 10 years at the company, after his
surprise handover last week to co-founder Larry Page.

Schmidt, who oversaw the company’s meteoric rise, also said
the group would hire thousands of people this year in response
to accusations that it has struggled to retain its best talent.

"I’m very personally excited about my next decade at
Google," he told the DLD media conference in Munich.

From April, Schmidt will focus on deals and government
outreach as executive chairman.

Schmidt told Reuters on Jan. 21 that his move was an effort
to speed up decision-making.

He is also set to get a $100 million equity award, his first
since joining the company in 2001, which will vest over four
years and includes stock units and options.

Google last week reported earnings and revenue that far
exceeded expectations.

But while Google has dominated Internet search, it has
struggled with social networking and is facing stiff competition
from companies like Facebook and Twitter, which are stealing web
traffic and engineering talent.

"Our retention has been actually the same and our retention
has been exactly the same for seven years" he said at a news
conference following his DLD appearance.

"We’re going to be hiring many thousands of people this
year."

Schmidt said that in his new role he would be able to spend
more time on government issues and Google’s public image, among
other things.

"We’ve got very complicated government issues, he said,
adding however that Google’s position in China appeared to be
stable for the time being, following a renewal of its licence
there last June.

Google threatened to pull out of China after a high-profile
hacking incident but eventually came to an agreement with the
government and now runs a reduced service.

"I think it’s stable, he said, before adding: "You never
know. It’s possible for the government of China to cause us not
to work."

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan. Editing by Jane Merriman)