Born in Chennai, India, Pichai was bright and creative from a young age. Having received his education from some of the most prestigious institutions in the world, he worked in engineering and product management at Applied Materials and in management consulting at McKinsey & Company before becoming a part of Google. Pichai is well-liked by his colleagues and is dubbed as the “man behind Google’s most important products
He was born as Pichai Sundararajan on July 12, 1972, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. His father, Regunatha Pichai, worked as an electrical engineer for the British conglomerate GEC and managed a factory that made electrical components. His mother used to be a stenographer before having children. He has one brother.
Pichai grew up in a middle-class home and was a bright student. He excelled academically at his school, Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan, and earned a seat in the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, one of the most prestigious engineering institutions in India.
He did his B.Tech in Metallurgical Engineering from IIT Kharagpur and then won a scholarship to study materials science and semiconductor physics from Stanford University from where he eventually earned his M.S.
He initially planned to pursue a Ph.D. from Stanford and embark on an academic career. However, he dropped out and joined Applied Materials—a Silicon Valley semiconductor maker—as an engineer and product manager. He did not work there for long.
He went on to complete his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (2002), where he was named a Siebel Scholar and a Palmer Scholar.
Following the completion of his MBA he was appointed as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company.
He joined Google in 2004. Initially he worked on Google’s search toolbar as a part of a small team. The toolbar gave users of Internet Explorer and Firefox easy access to Google search.
He also worked on other Google products like Google Gears and Google Pack. The success of Google’s toolbar gave Pichai the idea that Google should develop its own browser. He discussed his idea with his seniors and faced an objection from then-CEO Eric Schmidt, who thought that developing a browser would be a too expensive affair.
However, Pichai persevered and convinced the co-founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, to launch Google’s own browser. Pichai played a pivotal role in the ultimate launch of the browser, Google Chrome, in 2008. Chrome proved to be a great success as it allowed the users to directly access Google’s search engine.
Pichai became an internationally known figure following the phenomenal success of the Chrome which eventually became the No. 1 browser in the world, surpassing competitors such as Internet Explorer and Firefox. The Chrome also paved the way for a series of other important products like Chrome OS, Chromebooks, and Chromecast.
In 2008, Pichai was promoted to Vice President of product development. In this position, he started appearing more often at Google presentations and continued rising up the ranks in Google. By 2012, he had become the Senior Vice President of Chrome and apps.
In 2013, Andy Rubin, the creator of Android, left to work on a different project. Larry Page then made Pichai in-charge of Android as well. His influence continued to increase and he was made the Product Chief in October 2014.
In 2015, Google formed a company, Alphabet Inc., to serve as a holding company and conglomerate to own the subsidiaries that were previously owned by Google, including a new “slimmed down” version of Google itself. On 10 August 2015, Sundar Pichai was named the new CEO of Google.
In February 2016, he was awarded 273,328 shares of Google’s holding company Alphabet, which led to a rise in his net worth. These shares were worth $199 million, and this took his holdings up to $650 million.
Top 10 Facts You Did Not Know About Sundar Pichai
- Sundar Pichai is a huge cricket fan and was the captain of his school cricket team.
- His family did not possess a phone until he was 12.
- He once tried to talk a friend out of working at Google before joining the company himself.
- Sundar Pichai joined Google even before the company went public.
- He is very good at remembering numbers and could remember every telephone number he dialed when he was young.
- He interacts with students at IIT-Kharagpur over Skype at regular intervals.
- He was also one of the top contenders for the post of CEO at Microsoft, which ultimately went to Satya Nadella.
- He has been the master of ceremonies at Google I/O for the past few years.
- It is rumoured that Twitter tried to poach Sundar Pichai, a few years back, while he was working at Google, but Google paid him an exorbitantly higher pay to retain him.
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