When Google announced a surprise restructuring on Monday, a very big spotlight suddenly shone on Sundar Pichai, the executive who will replace Larry Page as Google’s CEO.
Pichai’s appointment is part of restructuring that will end with a “slimmed-down” company. This smaller, search-focused Google will be the largest subsidiary of a new parent company called Alphabet. With Page leaving to head Alphabet, the position of Google CEO became available.
Page said Pichai was the natural choice to lead Google.
Pichai “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”, Page said in a post.
“I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as him to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations. I have been spending quite a bit of time with Sundar, helping him and the company in any way I can, and I will of course continue to do that.”
Page went on to say that Pichai will continue to stretch boundaries and ensure that Google in its new form “can continue to make big strides on our core mission to organize the world’s information”.
Colin Gillis, technology analyst at BGC Partners in New York, said Pichai’s appointment was a smart move given the current fight for talent in technology. With Twitter and others looking for new bosses the former Android and Chrome boss is top of many head hunters’ lists.
“My sense is he is someone in high demand,” said Gillis. Offering him the top job at Google may keep him in the fold.
Pichai, 43, previously served as senior vice-president of product at Google.
“Since joining Google in 2004, Sundar has led a number of key consumer products which are now used by hundreds of millions of people and, prior to his current role, served as Google’s SVP of Android, Chrome and Apps,”according to the documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He has bachelor’s degree from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, a master’s degree from Stanford University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Eric Schmidt, who was executive chairman at the old Google and will now become the executive chairman of Alphabet, tweeted out the announcement, saying: “Really excited about the vision and brilliance of Sundar .. he’s going to be a great CEO!”
“I would challenge you to find anyone at Google who doesn’t like Sundar or who thinks Sundar is a jerk,” Caesar Sengupta, a vice-president who has worked with Pichai for eight years, told Bloomberg last year.
“If there’s anybody that could take over as CEO one day, I would see Sundar as being a great choice for doing that,” Maarten Hooft, partner at the venture capital firm Quest Venture Partners told Business Insider last year. Hooft and Pichai worked together for six years between 2006 and 2012. “There’s a lot of smart people [at Google], but in terms of the consumer products he’s worked on so far, I doubt they would be as successful without Sundar being there.”
- Additional reporting by Dominic Rushe
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