Following yesterday’s announcement by co-founder Larry Page that Google will be restructuring by splitting into various business divisions under one umbrella company Alphabet. Former Product Chief at Google Sundar Pichai has been appointed to head the Google division of Alphabet. A division in charge of the search engine, Android operating system and Chrome Internet browser.
The appointment of Sundar Pichai to become the new CEO of Google division comes as great news for the people of India. He is the most recent Indian to get such an esteem leadership position at a big US tech company. Other notable Indians with such high profiled jobs include Microsoft’s Satya Nadella. Pichai and Nadella high profiles at equally well respected US tech companies goes a long way to reaffirm India’s growing influence in the global tech space.
Pichai’s personal life journey is equally as remarkable as cited by BBC. Pichai was born in Chennai, India where he went to school and was the captain of the school’s cricket team. He joined the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur where he studied Metallurgical Engineering.
The Times of India quoted Pichai’s former teacher describing him as the “brightest of his batch.” Pichai first joined Google in 2004, and the first product under his watch is the now all too famous Google Chrome web browser and the Android mobile OS. Both of these products can be argued to be the dominant leaders in their market niche.
It would be interesting to note that Pichai was not born with some of the conveniences some of us have in life. It is said he first owned a telephone when he was 12 years old.
Bloomberg magazine said Pichai had a very humble past. He lived with his family in a two-roomed apartment, where Pichai and his younger brothers had to sleep on the living room floor. His family neither had a TV set nor a car.
Nevertheless, the spark for his interest in technology begun when he was only a boy, partly attributed to his father’s Job at the British conglomerate General Electric Company (please note this is different from the American General Electric).
Regunatha Pichai told Bloomberg, “I used to come home and talk to him about my work day and the challenges I faced.” He further says that Sundar had an unusual capability to remember telephone numbers.
When Pichai graduated from IIT Kharagpur, he was given a scholarship to Stanford; the ultimate techies’ Disney land. His plane ticket to America was more than what his father made in an entire year.
His colleagues at Google describe Pichai as a soft-spoken individual with a likable personality. In fact, he is said to be quite popular among his fellow developers; he is in charge of running the annual developer event I/O.
Yesterday, in his blog post, Google’s co-founder used the following words to describe Pichai: “Sundar has been saying the things I would have said (and sometimes better!) for quite some time now, and I’ve been tremendously enjoying our work together.”
It is emerging that Google’s co-founders have been hand-off on the day-to-day running of the company for some time now. As the co-founders announce the restructuring of the company, and Pichai being appointed the new CEO of Google. It only affirms that Pichai has grown to become a force to reckon with inside the company.
However, after it’s all said and done. Pichai has a very challenging task ahead of him. The Google division products are facing stiff competition. Take, for instance, Google’s YouTube against Facebook’s new video space, Google+ found it impossible to compete against Facebook. These are some of the hard tasks Pichai is up against.