Sundar Pichai, More Than Just Googled!

by Moumita Deb Choudhury    Jul 26, 2017

Sundar Pichai doesn’t exactly fall into the stereotypical image of a brash Silicon Valley’s top boss, but the soft-spoken engineer, with his ability to create exceptional products and his remarkable leadership style, have already proved that he can rule. Just like Indian cricket is proud of Sachin Tendulkar, the Indian IT is proud of Sundar Pichai, who was appointed Google CEO in August 2015 and very recently he has one more feather in his cap, as a member of Alphabet’s board of directors.

India- born Pichai has set benchmarks since his entry into the tech goliath’s den in 2004 and now his name is counted among the parent company Alphabet’s board members Larry Page and Sergey Brin.  Here’s the story of his rise through the ranks.


Page and Brin founded Google in September 1998 in a garage. Since then, the company has grown to more than 70,000 employees worldwide, with a wide range of popular products and platforms like Search, Maps, Ads, Gmail, Android, Chrome, and YouTube. In October 2015, Alphabet became the parent holding company of Google.

There is an astounding resonance between the company and Pichai, both have had a humble background to start with and today both are among the most sought-after names.

Pichai’s humble start and career building blocks

Pichai, whose full name is Pichai Sundararajan was born and grew up in Chennai. He was not born with a silver spoon. His father was an electrical engineer and his mother a stenographer before having him and his younger brother. His humble family could afford the kids two-room apartment where the boys slept in the living room.

From childhood, Pichai had an amazing memory and a remarkable talent of remembering numbers.

He studied metallurgical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and his success there got him a scholarship to Standford where he earned his MS. He then went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School for his MBA.

Before joining Google, Pichai has worked with Applied Materials and consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

Pichai’s rise in Google

On 1st April 2004, Pichai interviewed for Google, the same day Google launched Gmail. Everyone, including Pichai thought the free email services is a prank by the company. He started working on Google’s search toolbar and the product proved very useful in 2006.

The Internet Explorer fiasco proved to be another huge early achievement for Pichai. He convinced Page and Brin to build Google’s own browser. The result, today who can deny the utility of Chrome. There on he started getting more responsibilities like Android came under his purview and he took over the division in 2013.

Pichai, reportedly played a pivotal role in Google’s acquisition of Nest in 2014 for $3.2 billion.

Through all of these and more, Pichai remained a loyal Googler, even when he was approached by Twitter several times for high-ranking roles.

Pichai Moving On

Also, in 2014, Pichai took over product, engineering, and research efforts for all of Google’s products and platforms. After years of working closely with Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Sundar became Google’s CEO in August 2015, when the company moved ahead to separate different businesses and name the parent company Alphabet.

Pichai looks after most of Google’s name-bearing properties, including search, cloud, and maps. Android and YouTube also comes in his realm. Also with Pichai becoming the CEO, Google achieved more grounds in two key areas- artificial Intelligence and cloud. Under him, Google showed a 17.8 percent jump in its core ads business last year, while also boosting its revenue in cloud and hardware, a long-term goal of the company.

Pichai, as CEO of Google, got a compensation of around $200 million last year, twice the amount he received in 2015. The compensation was granted to Pichai as an appreciation of a number of successful ventures under his supervision.

“Sundar has been doing a great job as Google’s CEO, driving strong growth, partnerships, and tremendous product innovation. I really enjoy working with him and I’m excited that he is joining the Alphabet board,” said Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet, in a statement.

As Recode notes, Pichai will become the 13th member of Alphabet’s board. Another Google executive on the board is Diane Greene, head of Google’s cloud division. Greene came to the board before joining Google.