The Journey of Sundar Pichai from a modest Indian family to CEO of Google

Here are a few impressive facts about Sundar Pichai who rose from humble backgrounds to be the CEO of Google

On Monday, 10 August 2015, Larry Page and Sergey Brin the co-founders of Google announced their new venture, Alphabet.  Google is now part of this new collaboration, which is a collection of companies including the Life Sciences.

Hence, certain major changes were made in the executive structure of Google which included the announcement of Sundar Pichai to be appointed as CEO of Google while Larry Page will totally concentrate on the new venture Alphabet Inc. and Sergey Brin would serve as President to Alphabet.

Sundar Pichai has been associated with Google for more than 10 years. Let us go through Sundar Pichai’s life journey from a modest Indian family till being appointed as CEO of the world’s largest search engine, Google.

Sundar Pichai on the Professional Front: 

As the new CEO of Google Sundar Pichai would be controlling all these sectors of Google namely: search, ads, maps, the Google Play Store, YouTube, and Android.

Before joining Google, Sundar worked at Applied Materials as an engineer followed by McKinsey & Company in management consulting.

Later in 2004, he joined Google as Vice President of product management where he was in charge of the team which worked  for Google Chrome and Chrome OS.

Sundar’s intelligence and smartness was noticed and he was bestowed with more responsibilities of Gmail and Google Maps as well Google search products that included Firefox, Google Toolbar, Desktop Search, Gadgets, and Google Gears and Gadgets.

In the later half of 2008, under the guidance of Sundar, Google launched their Chrome web browser and then within a year the web-based Chrome operating system for netbooks and desktop computers too were launched successfully.

In 2011, Sundar’s name was being suggested to lead product and replace Jason Goldman at Twitter, however Sundar chose to stay with Google.

In 2012, head of the Google Apps, Dave Girouard, left the organization and then Page transferred the leadership of core Google products to Sundar Pichai.

Later in 2013, Sundar took over Andy Rubin’s portfolio and was in charge of Android. One of the major responsibility allocated to Sundar was to captivate more than a billion global users to the Android ecosystem which we all know was accomplished by him because as per reports there are over a billion users across the globe who use Android.

Some reports also say that when Microsoft had tried to pull Sundar into their organization, Google had negotiated desperately to retain Sundar for an astonishing $50 million a year in stocks!

Sundar was the director of Jive Software Inc. as well as among the board of advisors for Ruba Inc.

It was in September 2014, when Google launched its “Android One” project in India and then Sundar was the key member of this project. The project aimed to provide affordable smartphones to all people all over the world.

Though Sundar has been officially appointed the CEO, now in August, there are reports which state that he has been taking care of all the day to day activities of Google since October 2014.

Sundar has been known to be very close to Page and it seems Sundar has a great hand in convincing Jan Koum, founder of WhatsApp, to not sell WhatsApp to Facebook.

On the other hand, the merger of Tony Fadell’s Nest into Google, too seems to be backed by Sundar’s sharp mind. Sundar has also been involved in many other such important decisions of Google prior to becoming a CEO.

Way back in 2013, Sundar accompanied the duo, Larry Page and CBO Nikesh Arora, to South Korea which was aimed to build a stronger bond between Google and Samsung.

As per the documents filed with Securities and Exchange Commission:

Since joining Google in 2004, Sundar has led a number of key consumer products which are now used by hundreds of millions of people and, prior to his current role, served as Google’s SVP of Android, Chrome and Apps.

The Verge has described Sundar’s office as “clean to the point of being spartan” and it also mentioned that this simplicity was also reflected in his attitude and overall personality.

Sundar is very much dedicated to work and his colleagues say that when there is some problem, Sundar will be in deep thoughts and sometimes he would even go away from that place and come back with an appropriate solution to the problem.

Chris Beckmann, former Google Product manager praised Sundar in a recent Quora post and mentioned that he has superb leadership qualities due to which he can handle difficult projects in a professional manner and at that same time he is also able to build a very strong team which indicates he is a team player.

Beckmann added: “He recruited, mentored, and retained a great team. Sundar’s team of product managers had a reputation as being among the best of the best, similar to the reputation of the software engineers within Search Quality.”

Sundar is soft spoken and diplomatic by nature. Hence, Beckmann also mentioned that Sundar “avoided making enemies” in the midst of Google’s workplace politics and in addition “navigated those politics to make his team successful while inflicting the least possible damage on any other team.”

As per Business Insider, Sundar was shrewd enough and could always keep away from the politics and drama which happens at Google.

Sundar’s team devotion was displayed when he was working under Marissa Mayer who was the then key executive at Google. As per a report by The Information, Sundar “used to wait for hours outside her office to make sure that she gave his team solid work-performance scores.”

To sum it up, Sundar’s hard work, intelligence, smartness, overall attitude, team spirit all helped him to become the reach the position that he has achieved today. It seems his accomplishments helped him to become the right hand of Larry Page!

Sundar Pichai’s Personal Life:

An Indian by origin, Sundar Picha was born in 1972 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. His actual name is Pichai Sundararajan and his parents are Lakshmi & Regunatha Pichai.

Regunath Pichai used to work as a senior electrical engineer for the British conglomerate General Electric Company (GEC) and managed a factory that made electrical components.

Sundar studied at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and earned his Bachelor of Technology degree. He then won a scholarship to Stanford and as per reports his father had to pull out much more funds from the family’s savings than his regular annual salary so that Sundar could fly to the United States. It is pretty clear that Sundar was brought up in a modest Indian family; however now he is worth a $150 million, as per the reports.

Besides IIT, Sundar has also done his MS from Stanford and then MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Sundar was also honored as a Siebel Scholar and a Palmer Scholar at Wharton.

Sundar’s father is proud of his son and he also made a statement that when Sundar was young he used to discuss about the challenges in his work as an electrical engineer and he believes this is why Sundar too developed an interest in technology.

Sundar is been married to Anjali and is father of two kids.

During the press release where Sundar Pichai was announced the new CEO of Google, Page wrote:

“He has really stepped up since October of last year, when he took on product and engineering responsibility for our internet businesses. Sergey and I have been super excited about his progress and dedication to the company. And it is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google. I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as he is to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations.”

Sundar has also been gifted with a sharp memory and it seems he is able to recall each and every number that he has dialed till now, surprising isn’t it? But that is what we call a true genius!

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