Google’s CEO Larry Page has broken his silence about a rare medical condition affecting his vocal cords
Google’s co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Larry Page has revealed a rare medical condition affecting his vocal chords, which makes it difficult for him to speak.
And Page also revealed that as his condition makes him choose his words more carefully, his friends believe he is a better CEO for it.
Larry Page vocal problems
Page revealed details about his medical condition in a posting on Google Plus. It came after rumours began swirling last July when Page did not attend Google’s earnings call for the second quarter financials.
Page had not been able to make any public appearances at that time, due to an unknown health problem, which company officials had simply described as the temporary loss of his voice. Page’s absence led to rumours and speculation about his health, triggering investor concern.
And now almost a year later Page has gone public about his condition, and he explained how he was first affected by the ailment.
“About 14 years ago, I got a bad cold, and my voice became hoarse,” wrote Page. “At the time I didn’t think much about it. But my voice never fully recovered. So I went to a doctor and was diagnosed with left vocal cord paralysis. This is a nerve problem that causes your left vocal cord to not move properly.
“Despite extensive examination, the doctors never identified a cause – though there was speculation of virus-based damage from my cold. It is quite common in cases like these that a definitive cause is not found,” he wrote.
Page admitted this condition did not have much of an impact on his life, except for having a “slightly weaker voice than normal which some people think sounded a little funny.”
However, things got a bit more serious last summer.
“Fast forward to last summer, when the same pattern repeated itself – a cold followed by a hoarse voice,” wrote Page. “Once again things didn’t fully improve, so I went in for a check-up and was told that my second vocal cord now had limited movement as well.”
“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. And giving long monologues is more tedious for me and probably the audience,” said Page.
A Better CEO?
He said there had been “some improvement”, but said that vocal cord nerve issues can also affect his breathing, so his ability to exercise at peak aerobic capacity is somewhat reduced. Page also wrote that some think that his limited vocal capacity makes him a better boss.
“Sergey says I’m probably a better CEO because I choose my words more carefully,” wrote Page. “So surprisingly, overall I am feeling very lucky.”
Page also revealed that he had been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in 2003, which he described as a “fairly common inflammatory condition of the thyroid which causes me no problems.”
Page said it was unclear if this was a factor in his vocal cord condition.
Page also used his posting to reveal he has arranged “to fund a significant research program through the Voice Health Institute,” which will be led by one of the doctors who has worked on his condition. He urged people with a similar condition to register here.
The news of Page’s medical condition comes as Google holds its annual developer conference in San Francisco this week. It is not clear at this time whether Page will attempt to address conference delegates.
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