Who Is Sundar Pichai?

Sundar Pichai is the current CEO of Google and Alphabet. Known as a successful innovator, he focuses on developing new products and services at Google.

Pichai serves on Alphabet’s board of directors.

Key Takeaways

  • Sundar Pichai is the CEO of Google and Alphabet.
  • He led the development of the Google Toolbar and Google Chrome.
  • Pichai helped launch the Android operating system.
  • Sundar Pichai represented Google during congressional hearings on the technology industry's practice of data collection.

Early Life and Education

Sundar Pichai was born on June 10, 1972, in Madurai, India, and studied engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur. He earned a master's degree from Stanford University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Pichai's early experience includes positions at Allied Materials and McKinsey & Co.

Gaining Experience

In 1997, Sundar Pichai abandoned the Ph.D. program at Stanford University, accepting his master's degree in material sciences and engineering. He joined Allied Materials, a semiconductor manufacturer in Silicon Valley, as a product manager before leaving to pursue an MBA at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduation in 2002, Pichai accepted a position as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co. Having roles of both product manager and consultant at two leading firms, which require product strategy, execution, and team building, prepared Sundar Pichai for his new position at Google in 2004.

Success at Google

Sundar Pichai's interview at Google coincidently coincided with the launch of Google Gmail. Unaware of the new product, Pichai admitted his ignorance during his interviews and is remembered as the candidate with "intellectual humility," which Laszlo Bock, Google’s former senior VP of people operations, called one of the top qualities he looked for in candidates at Google. Pichai was well-prepared but managed a dynamic situation with candor during a moment of uncertainty.

On April 1, 2004, Sundar Pichai joined Google as its vice-president of product management and was tasked with the development of Google Toolbar and Google Chrome, which grew to become the world’s most popular internet browser.


Google Chrome's share of the browser market, leading Apple’s Safari, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and Mozilla’s Firefox.

Pichai launched the Chrome OS and Chromebook in 2011, headed the Android operating system in 2013, and became the leader of all products and engineering at Google by 2014. Pichai oversaw all of Google’s products and platforms, including Search, Maps, Play, Android, Chrome, Gmail, and Google Workspace.

Tech industry gossip placed Pichai in serious contention for CEO of Microsoft, a position that eventually went to Satya Nadella. When Google reorganized into Alphabet in August 2015, Sundar Pichai was selected as Google’s CEO. He joined the board of directors of Alphabet in July 2017. 

Under Pichai's leadership, Google invested in new opportunities such as Google Cloud and YouTube and continues to research advanced technologies, including machine learning and quantum computing.

In 2021, Sundar Pichai stated that artificial intelligence, when machines are programmed to simulate the human mind and solve problems and mimic human activity, "will have a bigger impact than most of the breakthroughs in recent history" and "can make humans more productive than we ever imagined." Pichai expects AI to play a foundational role in every aspect of our lives, by mimicking human tasks, from healthcare and education to how we manufacture things and consume information.

As head of Google, Pichai has also endured scrutiny by Congress. In December 2018, Pichai appeared before the Judiciary Committee of the U.S House of Representatives to answer questions regarding data collection, security, algorithm bias, and bringing a censored search engine to China.

In December 2019, Sundar Pichai became the CEO of both Google and Alphabet, replacing Larry Page. Co-founders Page and Sergey Brin, along with former CEO Eric Schmidt, grew Google from a university project to one of the most successful companies in the world.

In 2021, Alphabet crossed $2 trillion in market value due to sales and profit growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. While many other technology giants embrace the metaverse as the next frontier of growth, Sundar Pichai sees Google’s future in its oldest offering, the Internet search, with consumers asking computers more questions with voice and multimodal experiences.

How Is Google Investing in Offices in 2022?

Sundar Pichai announced that Google will invest $9.5 billion in offices and data centers in 2022. Following the pandemic, many companies embraced a flexible workplace environment. However, Pichai believes that Google's large investment in campuses will result in better products, a greater quality of life for employees, and stronger communities.

How Does Sundar Pichai Support Investment in India?

Sundar Pichai was born in India and has led Google to invest in the foundational infrastructure of India, and support developing technology there, such as the founding of the Google Pay app.

What Is Google's Commitment to Climate Change?

To address climate change, Sundar Pichai has committed to running Google data centers and campuses on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030.

The Bottom Line

Since 2019, Sundar Pichai has been the CEO of Google and Alphabet, building on the success of founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. From leading projects like Google Chrome and Android to overseeing the acquisition of YouTube, Pichai continues to lead the company by advancing artificial intelligence and digital technology.

Article Sources
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