Yesterday Google announced some pretty significant changes, not least of which is appointing Sundar Pichai as the new CEO while Larry Page and Sergey Brin leave to run their new holdings company, Alphabet. To call the bold move “unexpected” would be an understatement, but one thing is certain, Pichai getting the job makes perfect sense. He has slowly been working his way up the Google ranks, eventually finding favor as Page’s right hand man. If you still aren’t familiar with Sundar Pichai, let us bring you up to speed.
Pichai is a native of Tamil Nadu, India where he earned a Bachelor of Technology from he Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. After relocating stateside He achieved a Master of Science Degree from Stanford University in Stanford California, and a Master of Business Administration Degree from the prestigious Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania where he was honored as both a Siebel Scholar and a Palmer Scholar. Before becoming a Googler Pichai worked as an engineer and then as a management consultant.
He joined Google as its vice president of product management in 2004. He led the teams that built Google’s Chrome browser and Chrome OS. Pichai also managed to get involved in other various Google products like Google Toolbar, Desktop Search, Gadgets, and Google Gears and Gadgets. He was also instrumental in getting Google to be the default search engine included in Firefox, and helped with apps like Maps and Gmail. In 2012, Dave Girouard left his position as head of Google Apps to start his own company, Upstart. This left Pichai a new challenge to add to his resume’ as did the departure of Android co-founder Andy Rubin in 2013.
Not only has Sundar Pichai been an incredible asset to Google, but by all accounts he is a soft-spoken and genuinely nice guy. In a recent Quora post, Chris Beckmann a former project manager at Google, said “He avoided making enemies. Google has politics like any other large company, and Sundar navigated those politics to make his team successful while inflicting the least possible damage on any other team.” He also went on to say that Pichai “recruited, mentored, and retained a great team. Sundar’s team of product managers had a reputation as being among the best of the best, similar to the reputation of the software engineers within Search Quality.”
This reputation of excellence earned him looks from Twitter and even Microsoft, but instead Pichai took on a larger role within Google when Larry Page announced that he would be taking a smaller part in the day to day operations of the company so he could focus more on Google, now Alphabet’s, broader vision. Now in Larry Page’s press release yesterday, it was announced that Sundar Pichai will be taking on his largest role yet. Page wrote “He has really stepped up since October of last year, when he took on product and engineering responsibility for our internet businesses. Sergey and I have been super excited about his progress and dedication to the company. And it is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google. I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as he is to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations.”