Google Google on the crawl, tell me who is the most reputable CEO of them all? And the answer was Sundar Pichai – Most Reputable CEO in the World. However, in 2019 he was ranked No.88. Sundar Pichai, an Indian American employee of Google, took over as the CEO of Google LLC in 2015. From leading a middle-class life in Chennai, India, to Stanford University Alumni and now the force behind Google LLC and Alphabet Inc, Sundar Pichai’s story, is truly inspirational amongst the tech leaders of the decade.
Sundar Pichai, at the age of 46 years, is appointed as CEO of Google on October 2, 2015, and on October 24, 2015, he joins the Board of Alphabet to complete and form Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. Taking over as head of Google, he also handles and manages the Alphabet company portfolio which includes Chronicle, GV, CapitalG, Verily, Loon, X, Waymo and Google Fiber. With cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepping down from day-to-day operations of the company Pichai is set to take Alphabet into the future. In August 2015, he received an alumnus award from IIT Kharagpur at their 61st Convocation Ceremony. In 2019, Sunder Pichai received the prestigious Global Leadership Awards by US-India Business Council (UBIC).
How it all began: An Entry into America.
Shortly after graduating from IIT, Sundar came to America with a scholarship at Stanford. At Stanford, he earned a Master’s degree in Material Sciences and Engineering and then continued to study further for an MBA degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He began his career in the United States working as a product manager at Applied Materials and later shifted to McKinsey & Co as a management consultant.
2004 – Joining Google
In 2004, Google LLC the American multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products offered a job to Sundar Pichai. His love for technology since childhood combined with his immense capability as a quick learner, saw him rise within the company.
In 2004, Sundar was Google’s Materials Engineer and Management Executive appointed to lead their software teams that worked on Google’s Chrome Browser and Chrome OS.
He soon began to actively handle Google search products – Google Toolbar, Google Gears, and Desktop Search.
In 2008, he launched the Chrome web browser
In 2009 Pichai gave a demonstration of Chrome OS for desktops and notebook.
In 2010 he announced the open-sourcing of the new video codec VP8 by Google and introduced WebM.
In 2011 after overseeing the popular Gmail and Google Maps product development, he made a very public debut of Chrome OS and the Chromebook in 2011.
In 2012, he handled Google Apps division when Dave Giroud left Google to set up his own company.
In 2013, Pichai became the leader of the Android operating system, which powers smartphones worldwide when co-founder and CEO of Android Stepped down in March.
In each position, as a highly successful Product Chief, Sundar recruited and retained a great team. He mentored the team and navigated it away from workplace politics to deliver scalable results. He displayed sharpness and knowledge on product quality while strategizing its growth in existing markets while tapping new markets to help increase the revenue and profitability of Google.
No Leadership is without its share of challenges.
In August 2017, Pichai drew a lot of public criticism when he fired James Damore, an employee who posted a 10-page memo on an internal message board complaining that Google is sexist and lacks equal representation of women in tech and leadership.
On Dec. 11, 2018, Sundar Pichai appeared before the House Judiciary Committee of the Congress to clear numerous doubts raised in connection with data privacy, the company’s efforts to expand business in China (After Pichai at World Internet Conference in December 2017 at China, stated that a lot of work Google does helps small and medium-size Chinese manufactures to be represented on international platforms), the algorithms Google uses in its search engine, the company’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations, and lawmakers threatening Google with regulations. The session that lasted for 3 hours was handled well by a composed Pichai.
The growth despite the challenges
While Brin and Page transformed Google from a traditional tech company into a diverse holding company, it is Pichai who has taken the company to greater heights in these last 5 years. Googles’ growth in global annual revenue is clearly visible in the Statista report 2002-2019.
Under Sundar Pichai’s leadership, the share price of Google’s parent company Alphabet has also shown a considerable rise almost doubling since he took reigns of the company.
Sundar Pichai does not appear to be an executive who gets flummoxed by challenges. His very own words “Wear your failure as a badge of honor” have helped him push every limit.
Looking back at the young Tamil Tiger
Pichai Sundarajan known as Sundar Pichai was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu a southern state of India, in 1972. His father Regunatha worked as an electrical engineer for the British General Electric Company while his mother worked stenographer. He grew up like most middle-class Indians in a small two-room house in Ashok Nagar, Chennai, with a brother Srinivasan and his parents. Academically from an early age at Jawahar Vidyalaya, a CBSE school, Pichai excelled in studies as well as in sport, particularly in cricket. He went on to complete his Bachelor’s degree in metallurgical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur. In 1993, he won the B.C. Roy Silver Medal as a topper at IIT and awarded a scholarship to study at Stanford.
When that was not enough, he decided to further pursue Masters in the US. With very little help from his father and more with a scholarship from Stanford University, California, Sundar completed his M.S in Material Science and Engineering. Later he earned an MBA from the prestigious Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. At Wharton, Pichai earned both awards – the Siebel Scholar and the Palmer Scholar.
He began his career in the United States working as a product manager at Applied Materials and then as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co.
Sundar Pichai is married to Anjali Pichai a chemical engineer and his classmate at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. The couple has two children – Kiran Pichai and Kavya Pichai.
There is no stopping Sundar Pichai. In 2019, his estimated net worth was USD 914 million. In 2020, Alphabet Inc’s CEO, Sundar Pichai will receive USD 240 million in performance-based stock awards.
Ranked 1st or 88th hardly matters. There will surely be more awards and accolades waiting for Sundar Pichai.