#Newsmaker: Sundar Pichai and the Alphabet soup

Now that the euphoria about Sundar Pichai, a person of Indian origin, taking up as CEO of Alphabet, Google’s mother or father firm, has considerably abated, issues should be said as is. The calm manner he wears masks what a horrible 12 months 2019 has been for Pichai. As CEO at Google, he had a really powerful job available.

Critics within the US accused Google below Pichai of abusing its dominant place to stifle opponents. Regulatory authorities within the EU fined Google $5 billion for abusing its dominance over Android, the working system that powers Google’s {hardware}.

The Intercept, a information portal funded by philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, leaked paperwork that confirmed how Google, below Pichai, was at work to create a “censored Google” for China. Code-named Challenge Dragonfly, it might block info from customers that the Chinese language authorities didn’t need its individuals to see. As an example, something to do with the 1989 Tiananmen Sq. Bloodbath.

Within the outcry that adopted, Pichai’s defence — he wished a toehold in China — sounded feeble. He backed out.


  • Pichai Sundararajan grew up in Chennai, the elder of two sons born to {an electrical} engineer and a stenographer.
  • He studied metallurgical engineering at IIT-Kharagpur. He’s married to Anjali, a chemical engineer who additionally studied at IIT-Okay. They’ve two kids.
  • Earlier than he was appointed CEO of Google in 2015, Pichai headed the Android division; earlier than that, he’s credited with being the person behind the Google browser, Chrome.
  • For a way of how lengthy Pichai has been with Google, he joined in 2004, the identical 12 months because the launch of Gmail.

Batchmates from his days at IIT-Kharagpur say he is aware of when to again out, and the calm demeanor hides a steely resolve. Nothing else explains how the 47-year-old is ready to take care of the strain he’s below.

He watched as the corporate modified its motto from ‘Don’t be evil’ to `Do the correct factor’, someday in 2018. Then The New York Occasions pointed to all that’s fallacious, when it reported that sexual misconduct was rampant amongst its senior executives. Investigations revealed Google supplied Andy Rubin a $90 million exit bundle, regardless of a number of allegations of sexual harassment towards him. Rubin is thought in tech circles as the daddy of the Android working system; 1,500 ladies threatened to stroll out. Already, since 2017, Google had confronted motion over allegations that its ladies staff are paid lower than its males.

It’s nonetheless unclear how Pichai dealt with the Rubin episode. What is thought is that he sacked 48 males accused of sexual misdemeanours and promised to make the place extra woman-friendly.

That was earlier than Google founders Larry Web page and Sergey Brin stepped down from their high roles at Alphabet. They misplaced curiosity in Google’s core enterprise of search a very long time in the past. A lot of their time was spent on “moonshots” as they name them — issues like house elevators, supply drones, internet-beaming balloons. There have been some failures, no successes. Now, Pichai is fronting this monetary practice wreck too.

In October, when the Taiwan-based know-how analyst Ben Thompson examined Alphabet’s numbers, he discovered it had misplaced near $1 billion in a single quarter, solely on moonshots. The one purpose Alphabet may afford to lose this a lot, Thompson argued, was as a result of Pichai delivers billions in revenues annually. Now, Web page and Brin need him to work his magic throughout the albatross they’ve created.

It’s unclear how Pichai would do this. Web page and Brin are nonetheless majority shareholders. Their new CEO could should drive a tough discount and kill many moonshots. If he kills too many, they may eject him. If he kills too few, he may danger all of it.

Whereas some are punting on a conflict between Pichai and Web page-Brin, others are satisfied he is not going to head-butt. They’ve it that his rise to the highest at Google was not as a result of he’s the neatest, however as a result of he’s among the many quietest. That trait has held him in good stead. When the entity you lead is below hearth on a regular basis, quiet is an effective strategy to be.

Then there are those that keep in mind him as extremely charming. Optimists are hoping his attraction can compel the boys to surrender on a few of their toys.

Early stories have it that old-timers don’t like how Pichai goes about all of it. They really feel Google doesn’t really feel like Google any extra. However Pichai’s obtained to do what Pichai’s obtained to do. He is aware of Blackberry was as soon as the toast of city too. Till it turned toast.

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