Today as majority of people were sound asleep, Sundar Pichai, 47 year old, became the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Alphabet Inc., the group that owns Google Inc. Pichai, who became the CEO of Google Inc. in the year 2015 when Alphabet Inc. was incorporated and took Google Inc., Google Fibre, Verily, Loon, and many others under it.
Pichai will now be the CEO of both Google Inc., and Alphabet Inc. as the big bosses, Larry Page and Sergey Brin have stepped down from the position of CEO and President respectively. Pichai, who has now been associated with the company for over 15 years now, this day will be the one in his career which he will never forget.
His career in some way started in Madurai, where he was born in a middle class family in 1972. Pichai talked about his childhood and his ‘modest’ house in an interview with the New York Times ‘There was a simplicity to my life, which was very nice compared with today’s world. We lived in a kind of modest house, shared with tenants. We would sleep on the living room floor. There was a drought when I was growing up, and we had anxiety. Even now, I can never sleep without a bottle of water beside my bed. Other houses had refrigerators, and then we finally got one. It was a big deal’.
It is this childhood that prepared him for a career he would not have dreamt of. He then got enrolled into IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), Kharagpur where he like many South Indian students struggled with Hindi language. He topped many tests but also received a ‘C’ grade in one of his papers. He went to the US soon after for further studies (MS and MBA) and then worked at McKinsey & Company before joining Google Inc. in 2004.
In the same interview Pichai said that in his childhood he formed a love for reading ‘I read whatever I could get my hands on. I read Dickens’ He added ‘Friends, playing street cricket, reading books – that was kind of the totality of life. But you never felt lacking for anything’.
In 2017 Pichai visited India, and how could he not visit IIT Kharagpur. While he was in IIT Kharagpur he revealed interesting anecdote from his life, including his hardship with Hindi language here. He said “When I came to Kharagpur for the first time I thought ‘abe saale’ was how people usually call each other. Once I shouted ‘abe saale’ in the mess and it basically caused the mess to shut down for a few days’.
He continued addressing the students and faculty, he said grades are not everything, he revealed that he once scored a ‘C’. He said ‘I think I did get C sometime (when I was at IIT)… My first year CGP was so bad I had to work hard to make up for it for the next three years’.
It was here in IIT Kharagpur where he met his wife Anjali, he said ‘I met my wife Anjali at IIT Kharagpur, so whenever I asked a friend to call her, they would shout loudly Anjali, Sundar is here for you’ during his visit in 2017.
As he completed his Engineering in Metallurgical Engineering from IIT he soon moved to the US where he completed his MS and MBA from Stanford University and Wharton School respectively.
Pichai joined Google Inc. in 2004 and with the success of Chrome Browser project, Pichai’s rise in the company was goliathical. Pichai and his team were key to the success of Google Chrome, the web browser, and making it if not the most, one of the most used web browser globally. After Chrome project, Pichai was given more responsibilities, and his potential and ability to lead teams and projects was noticed by the Big Guns of the company one after the other.
It wasn’t just his knowledge of technology and products that made Pichai the most important person in the company, but also his ability to lead and work coherently with people that made the difference.
After success of Chrome, Pichai started appearing at Google Inc.’s developer and media events, and in 2013 he was asked to lead the Android division of the company. On 2nd October, 2015 he became the CEO of Google Inc., when the company was restricted and Alphabet Inc. was founded. Now, on 3rd December 2019 (early hours of 4th December in India) he became CEO of Alphabet Inc. while still retaining CEO post at Google.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin wrote a letter detailing the changes the group will undergo, in the letter they were seen praising Pichai. Pichai was called the person who understood Page the best and translated his vision to everyone in the company.
The founders of Google wrote ‘Sundar brings humility and a deep passion for technology to our users, partners and our employees every day. He’s worked closely with us for 15 years, through the formation of Alphabet, as CEO of Google, and a member of the Alphabet Board of Directors. He shares our confidence in the value of the Alphabet structure, and the ability it provides us to tackle big challenges through technology. There is no one that we have relied on more since Alphabet was founded, and no better person to lead Google and Alphabet into the future’. Sundar Pichai Tweeted ‘I’m excited about Alphabet’s long term focus on tackling big challenges through technology. 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’.
I’m excited about Alphabet’s long term focus on tackling big challenges through technology. 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 https://t.co/tSVsaj4FsR— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) December 4, 2019