Chennai-based Sundar Pichai to head Alphabet too as Google co-founders step away

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the former Stanford University students who founded Google in a Silicon Valley garage, have said they are stepping aside as leaders of the internet behemoth they started two decades ago.

Page and Brin are handing the reins to Chennai-based Sundar Pichai, who will take over as CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, in addition to maintaining his current responsibilities as chief executive of the search giant.

Alphabet first came into existence in 2015 as “a collection of companies” that separates Google from “other bets” that aren’t part of its core businesses, such as Waymo (self-driving cars), Verily (life sciences), Calico (biotech R&D), Sidewalk Labs (urban innovation) and Loon (rural internet access via balloon).

At the time, Page shifted from the Google CEO role to Alphabet CEO, with Pichai stepping in to lead the search giant. However, Page and Brin wrote today that “Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President. Going forward, Sundar will be the CEO of both Google and Alphabet.”

“With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure. We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President. Going forward, Sundar will be the CEO of both Google and Alphabet,” Page and Brin wrote.

“He will be the executive responsible and accountable for leading Google, and managing Alphabet’s investment in our portfolio of Other Bets. We are deeply committed to Google and Alphabet for the long term, and will remain actively involved as Board members, shareholders and co-founders. In addition, we plan to continue talking with Sundar regularly, especially on topics we’re passionate about.”

Sundar Pichai said that the change will have little to no impact on how Google operates on a day-to-day basis. “I want to be clear that this transition won’t affect the Alphabet structure or the work we do day to day. I will continue to be very focused on Google and the deep work we’re doing to push the boundaries of computing and build a more helpful Google for everyone,” Pichai wrote. “At the same time, I’m excited about Alphabet and its long term focus on tackling big challenges through technology.”