Sundar Pichai, the 47-year-old current CEO of Google will take over as chief executive of both Google and its parent Alphabet after co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin announced Tuesday that they will “assume the role of proud parents—offering advice and love, but not daily nagging.” Pichai will be heading Alphabet while Page and Brin will retreat but remain shareholders and members of the board. The decision comes at a time when Google is facing heat from advocacy groups, to workers to lawmakers on matters ranging from stifling protests and privacy issues.
Born in Chennai, Sundar Pichai studied at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur. The journey from there, to becoming the person with whom the buck stops at Google, is of course a dream for any IT/ software professional. Soon after the announcement from the co-founders, he wrote an email to Google employees expressing his gratitude to Page and Brin, and hinting about how the transition and the days after that are going to look like.
Pichai, in the email, pointed out that only change has been constant during his time at Google, and that the latest change is just a continuation of that trend. He also shared a message by the co-founders where they say that they have “never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company.” This change comes 15 years after he first met Page and Brin, according to Sundar Pichai.
Sundar Pichai further said in the email that Alphabet will continue to work with the same structure but he is also “excited about Alphabet and its long term focus on tackling big challenges through technology.” Read the entire letter here:
When I was visiting Googlers in Tokyo a few weeks ago I talked about how Google has changed over the years. In fact, in my 15+ years with Google, the only constant I’ve seen is change. This process of continuous evolution — which the founders often refer to as “uncomfortably exciting” — is part of who we are. That statement will feel particularly true today as you read the news Larry and Sergey have just posted to our blog.
The key message Larry and Sergey shared is this:
While it has been a tremendous privilege to be deeply involved in the day-to-day management of the company for so long, we believe it’s time to assume the role of proud parents—offering advice and love, but not daily nagging!
With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure. We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President. Going forward, Sundar will be the CEO of both Google and Alphabet. He will be the executive responsible and accountable for leading Google, and managing Alphabet’s investment in our portfolio of Other Bets. We are deeply committed to Google and Alphabet for the long term, and will remain actively involved as Board members, shareholders and co-founders. In addition, we plan to continue talking with Sundar regularly, especially on topics we’re passionate about!
I first met Larry and Sergey back in 2004 and have been benefiting from their guidance and insights ever since. The good news is I’ll continue to work with them — although in different roles for them and me. They’ll still be around to advise as board members and co-founders.
I want to be clear that this transition won’t affect the Alphabet structure or the work we do day to day. I will continue to be very focused on Google and the deep work we’re doing to push the boundaries of computing and build a more helpful Google for everyone. At the same time, I’m excited about Alphabet and its long term focus on tackling big challenges through technology.
The founders have given all of us an incredible chance to have an impact on the world. Thanks to them, we have a timeless mission, enduring values, and a culture of collaboration and exploration that makes it exciting to come to work every day. It’s a strong foundation on which we will continue to build. Can’t wait to see where we go next and look forward to continuing the journey with all of you.