The outgoing chief executive of Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Eric Schmidt, has announced a plan to hire more than 1,000 staff over the coming year to boost its European operation.
Schmidt, speaking at the DLD conference in Germany today, said that the new recruits would be roughly split equally between technology and sales staff.
The recruitment plan is aggressive, amounting to an increase of almost 20% on Google’s existing 5,000 staff across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“We had a very, very good year and a very strong quarter,” said Schmidt, referring to Google’s fourth-quarter profits of $2.54bn.
“We looked at this year and in particular our prospects for growth in Europe, and our businesses globally are doing well, both our core business as well as our adjacent businesses, our ‘hockey stick’ businesses as we call them. It’s all very, very good. We are going to invest in Europe,” he added.
Last week the company announced that the 55-year-old Schmidt will take the role of executive chairman on 4 April, handing day-to-day control to co-founder Larry Page after leading the company’s massive growth in the past decade.
Yesterday Google announced that as he steps down as chief executive Schmidt will receive $100m (£62m) in stock and options that cannot be cashed in fully for four years.
“I think my next decade at Google will be even more interesting than the first,” he said. “Technology will finally start doing what we want, instead of us telling technology what we want it to do.”
Google’s plans to ramp up its European operations, parts of which are in the early stages of being investigated by the European Commission, follows Facebook announcing that its Europe, Middle East and Africa headquarters in Dublin would be expanded by 100 staff.
The juggernaut-like success of the two companies contrasts with that of respective rivals Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), which last month announced 700 staff would be cut, and MySpace (NSDQ: NWS), which earlier this month announced that almost half of its 1,000 remaining employees are to be axed.
This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.