With Sundar Pichai’s elevation, Google’s turning over a new page

Last week saw a major change at Google’s corporate structure, with CEO and co-founder Larry Page putting Google Android and Chrome head Sundar Pichai in-charge of almost all major products at the company. The only unit that has been left out of Pichai’s domain is Youtube which is still headed by Susan Wojcicki.

With Sundar Pichai’s elevation, Google’s turning over a new page

With Sundar Pichai’s elevation, Google’s turning over a new page

Where Pichai’s choice is concerned, it was an expected change as we had noted in this post here. As various media reports have mentioned in the last one year, Page is very impressed by Pichai and the latter has played a key role in major negotiations and deals at the company. Not only that Pichai has a reputation at the company for getting work done, retaining talent and of successfully manoeuvring Google’s internal politics.

Now Wall Street Journal has put out more details from the internal memo which announced Pichai’s bigger role and according to the details it appears that Page wanted Google to have “a more common corporate structure.”

The WSJ report which gives out plenty of details from the memo notes that Page hoped that the decision will lead to “faster, better decisions.” Page had admitted in the memo that given all product heads were reporting to him it was tough for him to take so many decisions. He wrote in the memo, “The technology horizon is so broad and complex today and Sundar has a tremendous ability to see what’s ahead and mobilize teams around the super important stuff. We very much see eye-to-eye when it comes to product, which makes him the perfect fit for this role.”

That Larry Page trusts Sundar Pichai is not news. Earlier this year, The Information had done a piece which noted that Page considered Pichai to have “deep technical expertise, a great product eye, and tremendous entrepreneurial flair…which is what makes him a great leader.”

Page also noted in the memo that as Google grows older, innovation is still the key and that the current change is to ensure that their current products stay successful, adds the WSJ report.


“As you age, even when you’re still a teenager like Google, you have to work hard to stay innovative. Innovation is messy, a disruptive process, and people tend to be more comfortable doing what they’ve always done with a few minor tweaks. … So I’m making … changes today to ensure we continue to strive for market-leading excellence and beyond in our existing already hugely successful products while also getting the next generation of big bets off the ground.”

So what will the Google CEO be handling? The report adds that “Page said he would work with Pichai on key products, business issues with Chief Business Officer Omid Kordestani, and oversee Google’s “newer investments in access and energy.’” There will also be changes in the meetings of the management with Sundar Pichai running “product-centric meetings”, while Page running more “business-centric meeting,” according to the memo.

Where Pichai’s stint at the company is concerned, he is credited with leading products like Toolbar, and Chrome, which were essentially his success stories. The success of the Toolbar helped Pichai pace through his career as Google noticed that it was significantly increasing the number of user searches. The Google Toolbar was an important product when there were no alternative browsers and Internet Explorer was the default browser on most computers.

Following the Toolbar, Pichai led the development of Chrome, Google’s own browser and later on the Chrome OS, which is now a part of all Chromebooks that are being sold by the company. In 2008, Pichai was appointed as VP of product development and introduced Chrome browser. It was soon followed by Chrome OS in 2009. By 2012, he was the Senior VP of Chrome and apps.

Pichai gained more responsibilities in 2013, when he replaced Andy Rubin as head of Android. In 2014, Pichai was pretty much the star of the Google I/O conference and he also announced the Android One series of smartphones where Google teamed up with Micromax, Spice and Karbonn to launch budget phones with Pure Android experience.