Sundar Pichai Biography & Facts

Sundar Pichai is an Indian-American business executive. Sundar Pichai is the current Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google. Sundar was named Google’s CEO in August 2015. The move was part of a reorganization that saw Alphabet Inc. become Google’s parent company. It has also been argued that the reorganization allowed founders Larry and Sergey to step back as Google faces a barrage of anti-trust investigations from dozens of Attorneys General, the FTC, and the Justice Department.

On December 3, 2019, Sundar succeeded company co-founder Larry Page as CEO of Alphabet as a whole. At the same time, Larry and co-founder Sergey Brin announced their departure from day-to-day operations at Google. Through dual-class shares, the co-founders remain the majority and super-owners. They are also still on the company’s Board of Directors.

Pichai worked as Google’s product chief for 11 years before being named CEO. In that capacity, Pichai oversaw the development of software such as Google Chrome, Google Drive, and Google Maps.

Early Life and Education

Sundar Pichai was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India on June 10, 1972, to stenographer Lakshmi and GEC electrical engineer Regunatha. He attended Jawahar Vidyalaya Senior Secondary School as a child. Pichai continued his education at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. He earned a degree in metallurgical engineering from the latter.

Pichai moved to the United States from India and enrolled at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. He earned his MS in materials science and engineering there. Pichai then went on to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where he earned his MBA.

Career Beginnings

Pichai began his career as a materials engineer, working in engineering and product management at the Silicon Valley firm Applied Materials. After that, he worked in management consulting at McKinsey & Company.

Google

Pichai joined Google in 2004. Pichai oversaw the development of numerous major software products for Google, including Google Chrome, Google Drive, Chrome OS, and Android. He was also in charge of the development of applications such as Google Maps and Gmail. Pichai introduced WebM, a new audiovisual media format, in 2010.

Pichai was appointed as Google’s new CEO in the summer of 2015. Following the formation of Alphabet, Google’s new holding company, he officially assumed the position that October. Pichai was appointed CEO of Alphabet in late 2019.

Privacy and Antitrust Controversies

Pichai’s tenure as CEO of Google has been marred by controversy for a variety of reasons. First, in 2017, he was publicly questioned for firing an employee who wrote a ten-page manifesto criticizing Google’s diversity policies. In December of the following year, Pichai faced even more scrutiny when he was grilled by the United States House Judiciary Committee on a variety of Google-related issues. He was specifically asked to testify about the company’s privacy practices and potential political bias on its platforms. In response to the privacy concern, Pichai stated that Google users can choose not to have their data collected.

Sundar, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Tim Cook were summoned to testify before the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Antitrust in July 2020. Sundar took the first question of the day. Rep. David Cicilline posed the following question:

Why does Google steal content from honest businesses?

The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation subpoenaed Pichai and the CEOs of Twitter and Facebook in late 2020. They were summoned to testify before the Committee in connection with their concerns about the tech industry’s exemption from Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1934.

Honors

Pichai has received several prestigious awards. He was named to Time’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people in both 2016 and 2020. Among his other honors, Pichai was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2022; the award is the country’s third-highest civilian honor.

Personal Life

Pichai and his wife Anjali have two children. He enjoys playing cricket and football in his spare time.

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