The co-founders of Google and Alphabet, Larry Page and Sergey Brin said Sundar is the best person to lead Google and Alphabet going forward.
The comment from both came when Indian techie Sundar Pichai took over as the CEO of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Both Page and Brin have stepped down from public roles and active management at the company they co-founded 21 years ago. Alphabet, which owns more than a dozen companies including self-driving car technology business Waymo and health care software company Verily, emerged in 2015 as part of a restructuring of Google.
Page and Brin said they will remain actively involved as board members, shareholders and co-founders of the company. Sundar said the transition will not affect the Alphabet structure or the work they do on a daily basis. He reiterated that he will continue to work with Page and Brin, but in different roles. Pichai, 47, who has spent 15 years at Google, rose to prominence while leading development of Google's Chrome browser. He later led product development and engineering across all of Google's services for a year before gaining the CEO title and adding with it oversight of Google's advertising and cloud computing business.
"While it has been a tremendous privilege to be deeply involved in the day-to-day management of the company for so long, we believe it's time to assume the role of proud parents offering advice and love, but not daily nagging!" Page and Brin wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. Page, Brin and Pichai have all shared an emphasis on developing artificial intelligence software to make web searching and other tasks faster, while long-time product leader Pichai has increased efforts to make such technology available globally.
While publicly stepping back, the co-founders still control more than 51% of shares. As of April, Page held 26.1% of Alphabet's total voting power, Brin 25.25% and Pichai less than 1%.
Alphabet shares rose 0.64% following the after-hours announcement to $1,303. Recently, the vision of the founders faces unprecedented scrutiny, with governments on five continents demanding better safeguards, less anticompetitive conduct and more taxes from the world's largest online advertising company. Recently, Page as CEO, had drawn criticism in the last two years from employees and U.S. lawmakers that demanded answers from him rather than Pichai about controversial company projects such as an experimental search app for Chinese users. Thousands of employees have protested, and some have even resigned, over ongoing uncertainty over why the "don't be evil" dogma famous to Google - and once embraced by Page and Brin - appears to be cracking. Streamlining management could help Alphabet better respond to the challenges and focus on growing profits, investors said. Page, who is known for having big expectations and strong thoughts on technological details, had wanted to focus on developing those newer businesses, which collectively lose money.