Google has a new CEO, Sundar Pichai. Here are a few things everyone should know about him.
- Pichai is 43 years old, born in Chennai, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, where he was raised by an electrical engineer father and a mother who was a former stenographer.
- His birth name is Pichai Sundararajan.
- For most of his childhood, his family of four lived in two rooms. They didn’t have much technology, not even a telephone until he was 12 (it had a rotary dial). Using it revealed one of Pichai’s gifts: he never forgets a number.
- In high school in Tamil Nadu, he was captain of the school cricket team.
- He has a degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur; in 1993 he moved to the United States to get an MS in Material Sciences from Stanford. After a short job, he eventually got an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
- He married his high school girlfriend, Anjali, when she joined him in the U.S. They now have two children, a son and daughter.
- He joined Google on April 1, 2004—the day Gmail was launched—after working as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company. Allegedly, he’d tried to talk a colleague out of working at Google, but found the argument to work there compelling enough for himself.
- One of his first Google jobs was product manager of the Google search toolbar used in other browsers (this was before Google Chrome existed). Pichai was the one to convince the bosses that getting into the browser wars was a good idea. (Then-CEO Eric Schmidt was against it.)
- All the other major products he’s run at Google include Gmail, Google Docs, Chrome OS, and since 2013, Android. At one point, when Andy Rubin still ran Android, that group had such strained relations within the company it required term sheets to work with Pichai’s team to integrate Chrome in the mobile OS. More recent projects launched under Pichai’s eye include Google Photos and Google Now.
- Pichai was key in Google buying smart thermostat and smoke-detector creator Nest for $3.2 billion in 2014. He then handed Nest the keys to smart-home projects at Google.
- Pichai has been the master of ceremonies at Google I/O for the past few years. This year, he led a two-hour+ keynote address. Watch it below for an idea of what he thinks is important.
- For the last few months as senior VP, Pichai has been in charge of all the major products at Google, essentially the acting CEO of the money-making aspects of Google before it was official.
- Pichai was rumored to be in the running to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft CEO, but some were skeptical.
- Twitter tried to hire him, but Google paid big—$50 million in stocks—to get him to stay.
- Pichai is on Twitter @sundarpichai with over 164,000 followers (a number that will surely grow; he’s got over 2.8 million “followers” on Google+). Most of his tweets are about soccer, but the last few hours have been mostly replies of “Thanks” to select well-wishers, like Tim Cook (the guy that once called Android a “toxic hellstew”) and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
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