Google head Sundar Pichai to take over as Alphabet CEO

Indian American whizkid makes history taking over from co-founder Larry Page.

In a dramatic announcement late Tuesday Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of the iconic tech giant Google, handed over the reins of its parent company Alphabet to Indian American whizkid Sundar Pichai, who has been running Google as CEO since 2015.

Twenty years after the duo launched Google from a garage in Menlo Park, California, Page and Brin are relinquishing their executive roles as CEO and President respectively of Alphabet making Pichai in charge of all its divisions.

However, both Page and Brin will continue to serve as active members of the Alphabet board. Currently Page holds about 5.8% of Alphabet shares, Brin controls about 5.6% and Pichai holds about 0.1%.

The duo also made clear their intention to influence the growth of their brain child saying they will continue to talk regularly to Pichai, especially on topics they are “passionate about.

Announcing Pichai’s elevation in a blog post, they wrote: “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.”

“Thanks to Larry & Sergey, we have a timeless mission, enduring values and a culture of collaboration & exploration – a strong foundation we’ll continue to build on,” tweeted Pichai in response giving a glimpse into his mind. “I’m excited about Alphabet’s long term focus on tackling big challenges through technology.”

Page took over as the CEO of Alphabet in 2015 as part of Google’s plan to re-organize and form a new parent company to oversee its other operations too. Pichai who was then Product Chief was made CEO of the new independent company.

Born in Madurai in Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Pichai is now worth $600 million, even before he walks into one of the top jobs in the global corporate world creating history for Indian Americans.

It’s a heady rise for the son of a stenographer mother and an electrical engineer father, who grew up in a small two-room apartment in Chennai.

After early schooling in Chennai, Pichai went on to earn a degree in metallurgical engineering from the elite Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. He did his MS from Stanford University and MBA from the Wharton School of Pennsylvania University.

Pichai worked in engineering and product management at Applied Materials and management consulting at McKinsey & Company before joining Google in 2004. There he led the product management and innovation efforts for a suite of client software products, including Google Chrome, Chrome OS and Google Drive.

He went on to oversee the development of other applications such as Gmail and Google Maps. He later added Android to the list. One year after he took over, Google shipped one billion devices.

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