Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s CEO Larry Page missed Thursday’s meeting with shareholders due to health-related issues. The search giant’s chairman Eric Schmidt said that Page missed the meeting because of a voice condition and that he will probably also miss next week’s I/O developer conference and the second-quarter earnings call next month.
This news has Doug Anmuth (analyst for JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) pondering if Google is downplaying the situation. He claimed that they have no specific reason to assume there was more to Page’s condition but he acknowledged that Google’s claim of their CEO’s absence in a few weeks is something to question.
He also noted that Lary Page has not been on Google+ since May 25th. Although considering it has been called a ‘ghost town’, that might not be a big deal.
The search engine is expected to showcase their first branded Nexus tablet computer and the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system next week at the Google I/O developers conference.
Page’s health issues take us back to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Steve Jobs. When Jobs became sick with cancer, he and the company did a good job at covering up his illness and protecting personal life from the prying ears of the public. They also kept his health hidden from investors.
The whole debate behind the issue on whether or not shareholders should know about the health matters of the CEO of the company they’re investing in is a tricky one. On one hand, health issues are really a personal matter and it’s not something that should be shared with people you don’t know on a personal level. But when the health of the CEO interferes with business matters, it affects everyone who’s involved. I doubt Page has health problems that are serious enough to warrant concern and I think that we should trust Google on this one. Hopefully, Larry can fully recover and get back to business within a few months.