How does Eric Schmidt do it? The computer nerd runs Google, has Obama's ear, parks his jet fleet in a NASA hangar, and has a rocking girlfriend. Is she the reason he flies so much?
Google doesn't have its own corporate jets — good thing, since that transportation perk is so déclassé these days. Instead, the company leases planes, including a set of jets jointly owned by Schmidt and Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Peter Kafka at MediaMemo notes that Google paid for $106,201 worth of travel to have Schmidt's "family and friends" accompany him on business trips.
Which made us think: What happened in Schmidt's life last year? Schmidt, who is married, has had a series of girlfriends on the side. (Good for him!) But he started getting serious with his most recent one, Kate Bohner, in late 2007. Bohner, who was briefly married to author Michael Lewis and is said to have inspired the character of sex-crazed Samantha on Sex and the City, lived in south Florida until she relocated to Los Angeles last fall. During the presidential campaign, she was spotted escorting Schmidt to at least one YouTube-sponsored debate.
I asked a Google spokesman if Bohner was one of Schmidt's passengers, but he declined to comment. So did Bohner fly free on the Google party plane? If so, good for Schmidt: Not every executive, in this perk-hostile times, gets to fly such friendly skies.