Sundar Pichai:  The Indian tech whizkid, who rewrote corporate ABC

Sundar Pichai
Sundar Pichai; File photo by Geeta Goindi

Date of birth: June 10, 1972

Place of birth: Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

Profession: CEO of Alphabet, Google

Spouse: Anjali Pichai

Children: Kavya and Kiran

Alma mater: Wharton School (MBA), Stanford University (MS), Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (B Tech)

Looking modest, simple and humble, Pichai Sundararajan does not seem like the household name that he has become among Indians worldwide as he replaces Larry Page as CEO of Alphabet, the parent company of Google that he has been heading since 2015.

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.

Announcing Pichai’s elevation, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin wrote: “With Alphabet now well-established and Google and Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure”.

“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 giving a glimpse into his mind. “I’m excited about Alphabet’s long term focus on tackling big challenges through technology.”

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.

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.

Pichai by his own admission is not a “morning person”. He prefers to eat omelette, tea and toast for breakfast and walks a lot in the office, which helps him to “think”.

An emotionally intelligent person, Pichai has handled conflicts well as the public face of the company, frequently meeting President Donald Trump and leading its annual developer conference.

In August 2017, Pichai fired a Google employee who challenged its diversity policies. “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,” he wrote in a memo.

With such a large-scale history and legacy of work, Sundar Pichai’s elevation has taken the global corporate world by storm.


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Sundar Pichai talks about learning Hindi at IIT Kharagpur (January 5, 2017)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai to deliver talk at IIT Kharagpur on Jan. 5, 2017 (December 27, 2016)

Sundar Pichai, Bharati Mukherjee among 4 Indian Americans to be given ‘Great Immigrants’ award (June 29, 2016)

After hacking Zuckerberg’s twitter, OurMine now hacks Sundar Pichai’s Quora account (June 28, 2016)

Sundar Pichai predicts AI, cloud computing’s future at Google (April 29, 2016)

Sundar Pichai is highest paid executive in America with pay of $100.5 million in 2015 (March 29, 2016)

Google will build new campus in Hyderabad: Sundar Pichai (December 16, 2015)

Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella to visit India this month (December 4, 2015)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s welcome message to Narendra Modi on his visit to Silicon Valley (September 24, 2015)

Indian media gloats over Sundar Pichai’s appointment as Google CEO (August 12, 2015)

Alphabet to replace Google as parent company, Sundar Pichai is new CEO of Google (August 11, 2015)

Sundar Pichai to head Google’s global products business (October 27, 2014)

Google’s Sundar Pichai launches Android One smartphones in India (September 15, 2014)

Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella are top contenders to be the next CEO of Microsoft (February 3, 2014)

IITian Sundar Pichai now head of Android (March 14, 2013)

Former employee sues Google for discriminating against white men (January 9, 2018)

Google could face another lawsuit over sexism and pay disparity (August 9, 2017)

 Google CEO says that the industry may increase investments in India (June 27, 2017)

One Comment

  1. Yeah right, thats why there have been mass protests worldwide by Googlers walking out of offices, quitting jobs and openly rebelling against the company. And so-called “management” has desperately tried to quell the uprising because IT SIMPLY WON’T TOLERATE DISSENT!! Employees are pissed at how heavy handed Google’s approach has been, and working there is REALLY A CULTURAL CHALLENGE, you better believe it. Truth is that the cow has been milked galore, nothing much left to buy (like custom 747s for the big boys) and so why not give the farm away. They also employ tens of thousands of H1Bs, L1s and F1s visa holders while paying them sub-par wages and putting Americans in the valley out of jobs. So stop publishing such BS and research your story first. shame on google, which is nothing but Russian spyware. Now just watch this outfit become another irrelevant has-been and go downhill like Microsoft, once the Ballmer dude stepped down. Once Indians take over a company, its game over finito, done deal. No future, just boredom and mediocracy. Adios, it was a great ride and quite a nice algorithm actually that made quite a few people billionaires.

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