Google Inc Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt is selling roughly 42 per cent of his stake in the Internet search company, a move that could potentially net the former chief executive a $2.51 billion windfall. Mr. Schmidt, 57, will sell 3.2 million shares of Class A common stock through a stock trading plan, Google said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.The plan, which Google said, would give Mr. Schmidt “individual asset diversification and liquidity,’’ allows Mr. Schmidt to spread trades out over a period of one year to reduce the market impact. Shares of Google were down $4.11 at $781.26 in after-hours trading on Friday.

A Google spokeswoman would not comment on why Mr. Schmidt is selling the shares at this time. Wedbush Securities analyst James Dix said Mr. Schmidt's stock sales did not signal a loss of confidence in the company by Mr. Schmidt. —Reuters