Sundar Pichai as Alphabet’s new CEO means $2 billion for departing founders.
Pichai Sundararajan, also known as Sundar Pichai, is an Indian American business executive, the chief executive officer of Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary Google LLC. Pichai began his career as a materials engineer and joined Google as a management executive in 2004 .
Pichai, a 47-year-old engineer, grew up in India and immigrated to the US to attend graduate school
When Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin created the Alphabet holding company in 2015, Pichai was chosen to run Google
Larry Page and Sergey Brin just got a $2.3 billion retirement gift from investors. The Google co-founders, who announced Tuesday they were stepping down from day-to-day management of parent Alphabet Inc., added more than $1 billion each to their net worth today as the firm’s shares rose 1.9% in New York.
They each own about 6% of the internet giant and still control Alphabet through special voting shares.
Pichai, a 47-year-old engineer, grew up in India and immigrated to the U.S. to attend graduate school. His resume reads like the typical Silicon Valley operator: a Master’s degree from Stanford University, an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and a stint as a consultant at McKinsey & Co.
He joined Google in 2004 and started amassing responsibility for some of Google’s most popular products, including Gmail, the Chrome browser and Android. Former employees often describe him as a collaborative and loyal colleague. He even turned down a big new grant of stock in 2018 because he felt he was already paid generously, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The gains come as investors welcome Sundar Pichai’s elevation to chief executive officer of Alphabet, replacing Page in the role. It means the three most valuable U.S. tech firms no longer have a founder at the helm.
Like Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook and Microsoft Corp.’s Satya Nadella, Pichai is a long-time lieutenant who steadily worked his way up the corporate ladder. More than 15 years after he joined the Mountain View-based company he’s replacing Page in the top job. Brin is stepping down as president, leaving Pichai as undisputed leader.
The shift reflects Google’s accession into corporate middle age. Started in a California garage by Brin and Page in 1998, the firm had revenue of $137 billion in 2018 and today boasts a market value of $893 billion. That’s behind only Apple and Microsoft on the S&P 500 Index.
Other Silicon Valley giants are also founder free. Larry Ellison’s Oracle Corp. is headed by Safra Catz, though Ellison is still involved as the company’s chairman. Some younger companies — such as Uber Technologies Inc. and We Co. — have turned to outsiders amid turmoil.
There are some notable exceptions. Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg are still at the helm of Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc. respectively, which are the fourth- and fifth-largest U.S. companies by market value.
The Alphabet board will likely move to rectify this discrepancy. But however they decide to compensate Pichai, he’ll still lag far behind the wealth accrued by Brin and Page. The pair have a combined net worth of about $126 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.