Born on the 12th of July 1972, Sundararajan Pichai or better known as Sundar Pichai who has recently become the talk of literally every town, is the newly appointed CEO of Google Inc.
Before the recent promotion, Sundar was the Product Chief at Google and the Right-Hand man behind the former CEO Larry Page.
Sundar is widely known for his diplomatic skills within the company, and with an approximate net worth of $150 Million, the new honcho is highly regarded to be one of the most influential men in the world as well.
With his strong team playing skills, he is one man who exactly knows how to get his work done, and that too without alienating the entire company.
Talking about his personal life, Sundar is married to his college love Anjali and is the father of two children. He is also a huge cricket fan and was also the captain of his school cricket team.
The Early Beginnings of Sundar!
As most us already know, Sundar belonged to a middle class Indian family from Tamil Nadu, where his father Regunatha Pichai was a Senior Electrical Engineer for the British conglomerate General Electric Company (GEC) and managed a factory that made electrical components, while his mother was a stenographer before she had children.
Most of his childhood was spent in a two-room apartment, filled with a range of compromises. Going by the buzz on the internet, the family didn’t even own a car and got their first telephone when Sundar was 12 years old.
He completed his schooling from Jawahar Vidyalaya School located in Chennai, which was followed by his degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT KGP).
The scholar that he was, his professors at IIT suggested that he pursue his PhD at Stanford University, but instead he decided to take another route and pursued his MS from Stanford University in Material Sciences and Engineering.
To help him in fulfilling his dreams, his father withdrew more than his annual salary from the family’s savings to fly him to the United States.
After completing his MS, his initial plan was to get a PhD in materials science and semiconductor physics and finally become an academic, but again he changed his path and dropped out of the program to work as an Engineer and Product Manager at a Silicon Valley semiconductor manufacturer called Applied Materials.
Later, he quit that job and joined Wharton of the University of Pennsylvania, to earn his MBA in 2002. While at it, he was also named as a Siebel Scholar and a Palmer Scholar.
Later, he also went on to join McKinsey & Company as a Management Consultant, after which he took the jump which changed his life forever.
Life At Google…
After leaving McKinsey, Sundar took the biggest leap of his life, and joined Google in 2004. His profile was to lead the product management and innovation efforts for a range of Google’s products and was also one of the responsible ones for the making and success of Google Drive.
Now, when he began his work, he was assumed to be one of the many from the herd of highly intelligent Googlers, but he managed to rise beyond all the rest, in the time to come.
The Fast Growth!
He began by joining a small team that was working on Google’s search toolbar, which used to give users the easy access to company’s search screen. Over the period of time, he also went on to oversee the development of different apps such Gmail and Google Maps as well.
Now a lot happened between that phase, but moving forward and summing it up; under his expertise, Google’s toolbar had turned out to become a huge success giving him the desired stage, recognition and most importantly, the edge above all.
This success also gave Sundar the revolutionary idea that Google should develop its own browser.
Having thought that, he quickly pitched the same to Larry and Eric Schmidt – the then CEO, but apparently faced objections from Eric because he believed that developing a browser would be a too expensive affair. According to him, the browser project was an expensive distraction.
However, the adamant Sundar insisted and somehow convinced the co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, to launch Google’s own browser. The task and the responsibility were given in the hands of Sundar.
Sundar made sure to leave no stone unturned, covering all the negative points of the other browsers, along with all the problems users faced and more importantly, what exactly was the fast moving world was looking for; to develop the best browser man had ever seen.
And in 2008; Google launched their first yet world’s best browser – Google Chrome!
And as we all know, Chrome turned out to become a success far beyond anyone’s imagination. Chrome, defeating all its competitors such as Internet Explorer and Firefox, eventually became the No. 1 browser in the world. And today the browser controls more than 45% of world market share!
This also made way for a range of other well known products like Chrome OS, Chromebooks, and Chromecast as well.
Due to such immense success, it was obvious that Sundar became an overnight sensation and gained the respect of the whole world.
In the same year itself, Sundar was also promoted to the Vice President of Product Development. While at it, Sundar began to make appearances more often at events like Google presentations.
The next year saw the demonstration and development of Chrome OS and the Chromebook. As most of us already know, Chrome OS was nothing but an operating system for laptops that stored data on the cloud rather than locally on a device (giving you an endless amount of space), and would run on Google’s inexpensive Chromebook computers.
In 2010, Sundar made another progress by announcing the open-sourcing of the new video codec VP8 by Google (basically a video compression format), and introduced the new video format WebM. WebM is an open media file format which consists of different kinds of compressed video streams, audio streams, text tracks, etc!
And two years later, Sundar was promoted to the position of Senior Vice President of Chrome and apps.
Thus began his journey towards CEO’ship!
Rising of The New CEO
Within a year’s time since becoming the Senior VP, Sundar was also handed over the task of Android as well, which till earlier was being managed by Andy Rubin. Android as we all know is a platform for smartwatches, TVs, cars and payments.
The genius that he is, Sundar developed it into “Android One” which was a project designed to offer affordable smartphones in all households worldwide, which today has expanded into 3 new versions of the Android mobile operating system famously known as – Jelly Bean, KitKat and the latest one being Lollipop. Collectively, they control 65% of America’s smartphone market.
While he was at it, he was also on the Board of Advisors for Ruba Inc and at the same time was also a Director of Jive Software, as well.
In a short period of time, Sundar again got another promotion to become the Head of Products in 2014, which elevated him to become Larry Page’s Second-in-Command.
As much as humungous the news was, it equally doubled his share of responsibilities as well. Now he was not only responsible to oversee day-to-day operations of literally all of Google’s big products such as maps, search and advertising, etc, but he also had to take care of all the other new happenings like Google Photos, Google Now (a voice recognition assistant similar to that of Apple’s Siri).
Other than that, by now Sundar had also established himself as the public face of Google and was widely known to be as master of ceremonies for Google’s annual developer conference as well.
What made him a trusted lieutenant for Google’s CEO was his sheer Diplomacy and Entrepreneurial Skills! Sundar was the one who had helped Larry Page convince the WhatsApp’s founder Jan Koum to not sell to Facebook. He had also successfully helped crack the Nest deal for Google.
Other than that, he was also the one who had helped broker a peace deal with Samsung when they had launched its own Magazine UX with the Galaxy Note 3, and had taken the focus off Google Play products. He had done so by setting up of a range of meetings with the CEO of Samsung in Vegas, Googleplex, and then again at the Mobile World Congress convention in Barcelona, which led to a peace deal and Samsung agreed to scale back Magazine UX. Later, the two companies had also announced a broad patent cross-licensing arrangement.
And it wasn’t that his work was going unnoticed by the people outside Google. Due to his excellent track record, Sundar had attracted a lot of attention of the other technology powerhouses.
As a matter of fact, he had been approached by Twitter to come on board as Vice President of Products, and later was also being considered to become the new CEO of Twitter. Other than that, he was also strongly being considered to succeed Steve Ballmer as the CEO at Microsoft!
It was evident to the founders as well that if they did not take some action quickly, they would lose Sundar.
This was the time when their holding company – Alphabet Inc was being prepared. Hence, as a tactic to retain him and keep him on staff, Sundar was announced as the new CEO of Google (which is the biggest company under Alphabet Inc). He will be stepping into the new position after the completion of the formation of the parent company.
What Makes Him Different?
Now this is a doubt that has been in many minds – what really makes him stand different from the rest of the peers at Google that he got promoted?
Firstly, if you see, Google over the period of time has expanded its range into many divergent product categories which were at loggerheads with its core internet services business.
Many other subsidiaries like Google X, Calico and Life Sciences, and many other IoT (Internet of Things) subsidiaries such as like Nest were now part of Google as well, making it increasingly difficult to manage.
Hence, to solve this purpose Alphabet has been created! And in this parent company, Google was one of the products of their list, and will only focus on internet products including – Android, Chrome, Apps, YouTube, Maps and Search.
Based on these facts, along with Sundar’s past record, areas of expertise and all other surrounding factors, below mentioned are the top-most reasons why he (according to us) is the perfect candidate for the job: -
- As agreed by most of the top tech industry veterans, Sundar is one of the most all-round and flexible executives and with his keen eye for the products along with his business acumen, he often was considered to be better than Larry Page.
- His leadership style was well-known amongst the Googlers to be as a strong communicator who makes sure everyone understands the mission, and had greatly helped Larry interpret and facilitate on several occasions. This was also one of the reasons why Larry also valued him so much.
- He had been Larry’s most trusted Second-in-Command since the time Larry took over the reins of Google from Eric. He had single handedly managed to install a core team of vice presidents to help Larry for smooth functioning.
- Sundar already was heading product management and engineering for all these projects more than a year and with his mastery had excelled in his results. And because Larry Page was busy with other “moonshot” projects that could have a 10X impact, Sundar was the one calling the shots for all the products listed under Google.
- Being a highly talented executive, Sundar had always been one of the primary targets of various companies, some of them being Twitter and Microsoft. And in the last few years, many old employees of Google had moved on from the company, and Sundar’s exit would have been a big blow to them.
Contributions to Digital India!
Recently, Indian Prime Minister had visited the United States of America. After his visit to the Facebook Headquarters, he then went on to visit Googleplex, where he was received by the new CEO himself – Sundar Pichai, along with Google co-founders Larry Page and Eric Schmidt.
So what does this visit hold for India?
Well, PM Modi was given a detailed tour of the Googleplex by Sundar, From ground level to global, PM was also explained about navigational, safety and other uses of Street View & Google Earth at the HQ. Additionally, he also got a view of Project Iris, smart lens that measure glucose levels too.
While at it, and was also given deep insights about Google’s four critical ongoing projects, where they discussed their potential and value for Digital India.
But the topping of this visit was when new CEO of Google – Sundar Pichai formally announced a bid for the introduction of broadband connectivity, via mediums like Wi-Fi hotspots, at 100 railway stations, which would then be expanded to 400 within a year, to support his campaign.
In addition, the company also announced that they would also be rolling out ten-language vernacular typing for Android users as well.