Sundar Pichai Replaces Brin and Page as Top Alphabet Executive

In a "$2 billion retirement," Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have stepped down, announcing Pichai as CEO of both Google and Alphabet.

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Need to Know

  • Google’s co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin step down as Alphabet’s top executives, announcing Sundar Pichai as new CEO.
  • Pichai will also remain in his current role as CEO of Google.
  • Page and Brin will remain involved with Google as board members and co-owners.
  • Alphabet currently boasts a market value of $893 billion, sitting behind only Apple and Microsoft as the most valuable companies in the world.

Analysis

The faces at the forefront of Silicon Valley have changed again. Google’s two co-founders have announced they are stepping down, and in a shift to the company structure, Sundar Pichai will now be the CEO of both Google and its parent company, Alphabet. 

In a statement, co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, said, “Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President. Going forward, Sundar will be the CEO of both Google and Alphabet.” 

Alphabet was created in 2015 in order to split Google into its main business, which includes its search engine and nearly a dozen other massive products, and the other disparate arms of the company, like its X lab and now its self-driving unit Waymo. 

Page and Brin continued that “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.”

The co-founders remain “deeply committed to Google and Alphabet for the long term, and will remain actively involved as Board members, shareholders, and co-founders.” Both Brin and Page “own about 6% of the internet giant and still control Alphabet through special voting shares.” Shares rose after the announcement, resulting in Brin and Page both netting about $1 billion each for their retirement.

Sundar Pichai issued a letter to his employees as well, stating, “I want to be clear that this transition won’t affect the Alphabet structure or the work we do day to day.”

Pichai is stepping up as CEO in a challenging time of increasing scrutiny of Big Tech, as the brand and its subsidiaries have faced a severe series of controversies in recent years. “Similar to fellow Big Tech companies Amazon and Facebook, the last four years have been arguably the most contentious in Google’s history, as an activist coalition of employees have arisen within the company to fight for change and lawmakers, activists, and regulators have sought to check Google’s power from the outside.”

As Pichai said in his letter, “in my 15+ years with Google, the only constant I’ve seen in change.” Started in a California garage by Brin and Page in 1998, Alphabet had a revenue of $137 billion in 2018 and today boasts a market value of $893 billion, sitting only behind Apple and Microsoft. Here’s to finding out what the next fifteen years will have in store for Google.”

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