Genentech chairman Arthur D. Levinson is resigning from Google’s Board of Directors, the Mountain View company announced earlier this morning. His departure comes shortly after Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt resigned from the board of Apple, where Levinson is also a director.
No reason for the departure was given in the statement, but it’s safe to assume that it has something to do with the growing tension between Google and Apple, which is still being investigated by the FTC.
In the statement, Schmidt describes Levinson as a good friend and valued colleague:
“Art has been a key part of Google’s success these past five years, offering unvarnished advice and vital counsel on every big issue and opportunity Google has faced,” Schmidt said.
“Though he leaves as a member of our Board, Art will always have a special place at Google.”
Earlier this month, Eric Schmidt at a conference said Levinson should stay on the boards of both Google and Apple despite regulatory scrutiny. He stated he saw no reason for any changes to that because an antitrust test for overlapping board members of Apple and Google relating to revenue overlap would be easily passed.
Despite his remarks, it’s perfectly conceivable that there was simply too much outside and internal pressure for Levinson to continue to sit on both boards. Now that Levinson is departing the Google board after all, there are no longer any ties between both companies on a director level, although former Vice President Al Gore continues to reside on Apple’s board while also serving as a senior advisor to Google.