Everything You Need to Know About the New CEO of Google

4 minute read

Google threw the tech world for a loop Monday when it announced it was separating its core business and its myriad other ventures into a constellation of companies that would all be part of the larger company Alphabet. Google founder and CEO Larry Page will now be the CEO of Alphabet. Replacing him at Google is Sundar Pichai, Google’s current senior vice president of products.

Though Page noted in a blog post that the new Google will be a “slimmed down” version of its former self, Pichai will still have plenty on his plate. Google will retain core businesses, including search, ads, Maps, apps, YouTube and Android, meaning that tens of thousands of employees will still be reporting to Pichai. The former consultant and Stanford University dropout has risen through the ranks of Google over the last decade to become the most visible face at the company, serving as the master of ceremonies at Google’s annual I/O event and leading up almost all of the company’s key consumer products.

Here are five key facts about Sundar Pichai, Google’s next CEO.

He’s the reason you’re using Google Chrome

Pichai started at Google in 2004 working on the search toolbar that the company puts in Internet browsers. He thought that Google should have its own browser, even though the company was still mainly known for its search engine. Pichai eventually spearheaded the creation of Chrome, which has surpassed Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as the most popular browser in the U.S. The Chrome brand has since expanded to include a successful line of laptops and streaming devices.

He has slowly taken over almost all Google consumer products

After Chrome’s success, Pichai also came to oversee Gmail and Google Docs in 2011, according to a Businessweek profile. In 2013, he also took the helm over Android, perhaps the most important division at Google as the company battles Apple for mobile supremacy. In 2014 he was named the company’s product chief, bringing services like Maps and Google+ under his wing as well.

Read more Read TIME’s 2013 cover story, ‘Google vs. Death’

He’s Larry Page’s right-hand man

Page has increasingly relied on Pichai since starting his second stint as Google’s CEO in 2011. Last year’s restructuring had already made Pichai’s unofficial No. 2. Now Page will have even more time to focus on Google’s other big bets while Pichai manages the company’s core competencies. “Sundar has been saying the things I would have said (and sometimes better!) for quite some time now, and I’ve been tremendously enjoying our work together,” Page said in the blog post announcing Alphabet. “I know he deeply cares that we can continue to make big strides on our core mission to organize the world’s information.”

He’s a unifier within the company

With more than 55,000 employees, getting the different divisions within Google to play nice together is an ongoing challenge. Pichai seems to have a knack for it. Since taking over Android he’s made big strides with Google Now by creating interdisciplinary teams from the company’s Android and search departments. “I would challenge you to find anyone at Google who doesn’t like Sundar or who thinks Sundar is a jerk,” Googler Caesar Sengupta told Businessweek.

He’s the company’s first non-white CEO

Born in Chennai, India, Pichai will be the first CEO of Google that isn’t a white man. He studied engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur and came to America to study materials science and semiconductor physics at Stanford, though he eventually dropped out. He’ll join Microsoft chief Satya Nadella as one of the few high-profile minority CEOs in consumer tech.

The 10 Most Ambitious Google Projects

A driver drives a Google Inc. self-driving car in front of the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California on September 27, 2013.
Google Driverless Car The Google Self-Driving Car has been in the works since 2005 after a team of engineers won a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to design an autonomous car. The project, which aims to reduce traffic accidents, has made headway in recent years as states passed laws permitting self-driving cars. Google plans a commercial release between 2017 and 2020.David Paul Morris—Bloomberg/Getty Images
Google Internet Balloon
Google has been testing balloons which sail into the stratosphere and beam Internet down to Earth. Jon Shenk—AP
This undated photo released by Google shows a contact lens Google is testing to explore tear glucose.
Google's smart contact lenses.Google/AP
Avatars from Google Lively.
Google Lively Google Lively was a web-based virtual community space where users could design avatars, chat with one another and personalize their online hangout space. The project was discontinued after a six-month stint in 2008 after limited success.Google/AP
Eye in the Sky
Google Earth Google's virtual map of the Earth allows users to tour the earth with 3-D satellite images. The project, which dates back to 2004, has already found significant applications in disaster relief.Google/AP
Google's modular phone (Project Ara) at Engadget Expand New York 2014 at Javits Center on Nov. 7, 2014 in New York City.
Project Ara Google's build-your-own-smartphone project allows users to customize their handsets to their own preferences, with the possibility of eliminating electronic waste by encouraging users to add hardware updates on their own terms. The team is working towards a limited market pilot in 2015.Bryan Bedder—Getty Images for Engadget Expand
colored pill capsules
Disease Detecting Pill Google unveiled its plans to disease-detecting ingestible pill in October, a project that'll let patients access their real-time health data to encourage preventative care. The pill will contain nanoparticles that can bind to certain cells and chemicals, with the possibility of detecting diseases like cancer in early stages.Getty Images
Flight team engineers Kenneth Jensen, left, Damon Vander Lind, center, and Matthew Peddie prepare for the first crosswind test of their 20kW Wing 7 airborne wind turbine prototype in Alameda, Calif. on May 24, 2011
Flying Wind Turbines The flying windmill is the project of Makani Power, a wind turbine developer acquired by Google in 2013. The tethered airborne turbines will harness wind energy for the goal of producing low-cost, renewable energyAndrea Dunlap—Makani Power/AP
Vic Gundotra, director of product management of Google, demonstrates Google+ on the Nexus 7 tablet during Google I/O 2012 at Moscone Center in San Francisco on June 27, 2012.
Google+ Google's social networking platform launched in 2011, the most successful service after several flops at designing a Facebook competitor, like the now-retired Google Buzz. Today, Google+ boasts over half a billion monthly active users.Stephen Lam—Reuters
Google Books Google Books dates back to 2004, when Google partnered with libraries and universities to plan to digitize millions of volumes over the next several years. The project aims to make searching books as easy as searching the web.Getty Images

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