Indian-Origin Sundar Pichai, 43, was named CEO of a newly organised Google, becoming only the third chief executive of the company after Mr Schmidt and cofounder Larry Page.
“Really excited about the vision and brilliance of Sundar… he’s going to be a great CEO,” Mr Schmidt commented on Twitter as well as on Mr Page’s blog post announcing the surprise re-organisation of the company and the formation of Google’s new parent company Alphabet.
Mr Schmidt said the new name for the parent company ‘Alphabet’ is “awesome”.
Pichai joined Google in 2004 as a product manager, working on high-profile efforts like Chrome, the company’s Web browser and made a name for himself early; as Chrome grew like a weed, exploding from a single-digit percentage of market share to become the most widely used browser across desktops and mobile devices in the world, according to StatCounter.
Two years ago, chief executive Larry Page promoted Pichai to also oversee Android, the software that runs 78 percent of the smartphones sold around the globe, after Andy Rubin stepped down.
“Sundar has a talent for creating products that are technically excellent yet easy to use – and he loves a big bet,” Page wrote. “Take Chrome, for example. In 2008, people asked whether the world really needed another browser. Today Chrome has hundreds of millions of happy users.”
Born in Tamil Nadu, India, Pichai spent his early years in the Chennai region. In high school, he was captain of the cricket team. He earned a bachelor’s of engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur.
According to a long profile in Bloomberg Businessweek last year, the family did not get its first telephone until Sundar was 12. It was a rotary model. For much of the boy’s childhood, the family did not have a television or a car. The family would get around the city on a scooter, all four members riding at once.
Pichai came to the United States and attained a master’s of science degree from Stanford University, as well as a master’s in business administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania before working as an engineer at Applied Materials, and in management consulting at McKinsey & Co. He joined Google after trying to talk one of his McKinsey colleagues out of going there, and then realizing the arguments in favor of joining the company were better.
During his rise at Google, Pichai had suitors. In 2011, Twitter tried to lure Pichai to run the company’s consumer product division, according to two people familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity because the talks were not made public. And last year, Pichai was rumored to be in the running to replace Steven Ballmer as chief executive of Microsoft.
Wall Street seems in favor too. In after-hours trading Monday, the stock added more than $10 billion in value, an instant endorsement of Google’s new organizational structure and Pichai’s role in handling the part of the new company that makes the money. Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, will run the umbrella company, called Alphabet.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and other technology executives also congratulated India-born Sundar Pichai on his “well deserved” elevation as the new CEO of the search giant.
Mr Nadella also tweeted on Mr Pichai’s elevation at the company, writing in the micro-blogging site “Congrats @sundarpichai well deserved.”
Bret Taylor, co-creator of Google Maps, ex-CTO of Facebook and Co-Founder of technology Quip also congratulated Mr Pichai, the first non-white CEO, on Twitter.
“Congrats to @sundarpichai on his well deserved promotion to CEO of @Google. One of the most capable technology leaders I have worked with,” Mr Taylor tweeted to which Pichai replied “thanks”.
Join The Indian Panorama in congratulating Mr. Pichai on his success and on his new job; wish him all the very best here!