Ending months of speculation regarding his absence from the spotlight, Google CEO Larry Page appeared on stage yesterday to sit for an interview at the company's annual Zeitgeist conference.
Conducted by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, the interview (below) covered a number of areas of interest to consumers and shareholders, but most importantly, it was a chance for Page to show everyone that his ability to use his voice has finally returned.
Until yesterday, Page hadn't been seen in public in months, with reports of his lost voice slowly stirring concerns about his overall health. The company has remained mostly quiet about the matter. However, in July Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, said Page's voice had still not returned, but that he was back in the office working and taking meetings.
Despite those reassurances, Page's absence from the second quarter earnings call the following week only served to stoke concerns about his health. Although the health status of a company executive is normally a private matter, the unfortunate series of events that prompted the late Steve Jobs to hand the CEO reigns over to Tim Cook last year reminded Silicon Valley that stakeholders in public companies are generally entitled to health information if it might affect the operation of the company.
Page's appearance yesterday, smiling and looking none the worse for wear, was likely a welcome sight for the company's stakeholders and fans alike. And while Page seemed in great spirits and engaged Brown and the audience for nearly 40 minutes, the sound of his voice was noticeably altered from its normal pitch. During the interview, little mention was made regarding the condition of his voice and ongoing health status. When an audience member finally stepped forward and asked Page about his voice, he said, "Obviously I'm here talking. Still a little hoarse, but I'm here, so I'm happy with that."