Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai was on Tuesday given the top post at parent company Alphabet as well. Pichai will replace co-founder Larry Page in the position of chief executive officer.
“Pichai brings humility and a deep passion for technology to our users, partners and our employees every day,” Google co-founders Page and Sergey Brin wrote in a letter to the employees. “There is no better person to lead Google and Alphabet into the future.”
Page and Brin “will continue their involvement as co-founders, shareholders and members of Alphabet’s board of directors”, the company said. “We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company,” said Page and Brin.
Forty-seven-year-old Pichai is taking over the company at a time when it is facing antitrust investigations and is mired in controversies over privacy and data practices. In December 2018, Pichai denied allegations that his company had political bias. He was testifying before a House Judiciary Committee Hearing on “Transparency and Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use, and Filtering Practices”.
Alphabet was formed in 2015 to manage ventures outside its main search businesses, known in the company as “other bets”. Page was Alphabet’s CEO and Brin was its president. It is one of the world’s most valuable companies – in 2018, it generated revenue of $110 billion. “He [Pichai] is a technologist but he’s been a steady hand for the last few years and has proven his ability to conduit business at the highest level,” said Roger Kay, analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, told AFP.
Born in Chennai, Pichai studied engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur. He then moved to Stanford University and later attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Pichai has been leading Google for more than four years.