News Column

Google CEO Talks of Vocal Cord Issue

May 15, 2013

Google CEO Larry Page has disclosed a problem with his vocal cords that makes it difficult for him to speak and breathe occasionally, but he says he remains fit enough to keep running the Internet's most influential company.

The explanation that Page posted Tuesday on his Google Plus profile cleared up a mystery hanging over him since he lost his voice a year ago, causing him to miss Google's annual shareholders meeting in June and a conference call to discuss the company's quarterly earnings in July.

Page, 40, the company's co-founder and CEO for the past two years, says his left vocal cord has been paralyzed since he came down with a severe cold 14 years ago, while Google was still in its formative stages. That issue was compounded last year with another cold that Page says impaired his right vocal cord, though it still has limited movement.

Page's unavailability last year spooked investors, especially those who remembered Apple's initial refusal to disclose the extent of co-founder Steve Jobs' health problems.

Wall Street's worries about Page eased when he resurfaced in October to field questions during Google's earnings call. Although his voice has been raspy and robotic-sounding at times, Page has spoken at length in each of Google's three earnings calls since the one he missed.

Page provided further reassurance in Tuesday's post. "Thankfully, after some initial recovery, I'm fully able to do all I need to at home and at work, though my voice is softer than before," he wrote.

Doctors have not been able to diagnose why his vocal cords are hobbled, Page says.

The trouble could be tied to another health problem, Hashimoto's thyroiditis. He described it as a "fairly common benign inflammatory condition of the thyroid, which causes me no problems."

Page made his revelations on the eve of a major Google event -- a conference for engineers and entrepreneurs who create software appli-cations.

Source: Copyright USA TODAY 2013

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters