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Arthur Levinson Resigns From Google's Board of Directors [Updated]

Google today announced that former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson has stepped down from the company's Board of Directors, effective immediately, after five years in the position. Levinson has also served as a member of Apple's Board of Directors since 2000.

Google CEO and Chairman Eric Schmidt described Levinson as a good friend and valued colleague. "Art has been a key part of Google's success these past five years, offering unvarnished advice and vital counsel on every big issue and opportunity Google has faced," Schmidt said. "Though he leaves as a member of our Board, Art will always have a special place at Google."

"Working with Eric, Larry, Sergey and the whole Google team has been a remarkable experience for me. I greatly admire what they've built and have no doubt that Google has a terrific future," said Levinson.

Levinson's positions on the Apple's and Google's boards gained publicity after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began investigating corporate ties between the two companies as they began to compete in an increasing number of areas while continuing to share close ties.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt had been a member of Apple's Board of Directors, but resigned in early August due to limitations on his effectiveness as he was forced to recuse himself from Board discussions related to the increasing number of areas of competition. The FTC commended the two companies for recognizing Schmidt's conflict of interest, but indicated that it would continue to investigate ties between the two companies.

Update: The New York Times reports on comments from FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz indicating that the agency may be satisfied with the respective resignations of Schmidt and Levinson and no longer be investigating Apple and Google.

Jon Leibowitz, the chairman of the trade commission, praised the decision by Mr. Levinson and the companies. "Google, Apple, and Mr. Levinson should be commended for recognizing that overlapping board members between competing companies raise serious antitrust issues and for their willingness to resolve our concerns without the need for litigation," Mr. Leibowitz said in a statement. "Beyond this matter, we will continue to monitor companies that share board members and take enforcement actions where appropriate."