Sundar Pichai takes the helm of parent Alphabet
· Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai will follow
Larry Page as CEO of mother Alphabet Inc.
· Page and Sergey Brin will continue directors,
but will cede their CEO and president titles, respectively, immediately,
· Page & Brin, once regular displays at public
events and Google headquarters, are now seen much less often.
SAN FRANCISCO: Sundar Pichai takes the helm of parent Alphabet, extending a long flight from public roles and effective administration by Page and Sergey Brin at the group they co-founded 21 years ago.
“While it has been a great privilege to be very interested in the day-to-day management of the business for so long, we believe it’s time to assume the role of proud parents- offering guidance and love, but not regular nagging!” Page & Brin wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.
Page, Brin and Pichai have all received emphasis on developing artificial intelligence software to create web searching & other tasks faster,
while long-time stock leader Pichai has increased efforts to develop such technology accessible globally.
But the vision faces unique scrutiny, with governments on five continents demanding better safeguards, less anti-competitive conduct & more taxes of the world’s largest online advertisement company. Thousands of employees have complained, and some have even left, over the ongoing question over why the “don’t be evil” dogma important to Google – and once covered by Page & Brin – appears to be breaking.
Streamlining administration could help Alphabet better answer to the challenges & focus on growing earnings, investors said.
“This signals a shift away from the major fringy efforts– like Project Loon & more towards a company centred on technology that makes money,” said Kim Caughey Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners, leading to Alphabet’s internet-by-balloons business.
Alphabet, which owns more than a dozen organisations including self-driving car technology business Waymo also health care software company Verily, began in 2015 as part of a restructuring of Google.
Page, who is known for producing big expectations and healthy thoughts on technological features, had needed to concentrate on developing those more modern businesses, which collectively lose money. He left Alphabet’s most famous and most successful unit, Google, to the likewise soft-spoken Pichai, who heavily delegates to direct shots to manage multiple product lines. Brin had stayed on as Alphabet’s president, using some time on robotics and other study projects.
But Page and Brin, once-daily sights at public events & Google headquarters, are now seen much less often. The pair of 46-year-olds’ retreat into the past, particularly for Page as CEO, had drawn criticism in the last two years from agents and U.S. lawmakers that needed answers from him sooner than Pichai about questionable company projects such as an experimental search app for Chinese users.
Meanwhile, Page’s oversight job has mostly fallen to Alphabet chief financial officer Ruth Porat for the startup companies and Alphabet chief legal officer David Drummond for the company’s two significant investment funds.
Page and Brin will continue directors but will cede their CEO and president titles, respectively, now, Alphabet said. The president role will not fill, the company said, describing the changes as long discussed.
Page’s voice has impaired for years because of a permanent condition, but his health did not play a role in the choice to step aside, Alphabet said.
“With Alphabet now well–established, and Google and the Other Bets operating efficiently as independent companies, it’s the natural time to explain our management structure,” the co-founders said. “We are deeply engaged to Google and Alphabet for the long term.”
While publicly stepping back, the co-founders still manage 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%.
Sundar Pichai takes the helm of parent Alphabet, Alphabet shares rose 0.64% following the after-hours announcement to $1,303.
The company had used the division between Page’s and Pichai’s roles to defend its limited financial disclosures about YouTube and other businesses owned by Google when US securities regulators questioned the practice in 2017.
It contended that publicly announced financial results were in line with what Page studied as Alphabet CEO. Regulators did not take additional action, but the company’s position has disappointed investors looking to evaluate the company’s performance genuinely.
Alphabet declined to say on whether public financial reporting would change with Pichai regarding both CEO positions.
Pichai, 47, who has spent 15-years at Google, rose to influence while leading the development of Google’s Chrome browser. He later led product improvement and engineering across all of Google’s services for a year before getting the CEO title and adding with it oversight of Google’s announcement and cloud computing business.
Page and Brin are engaged in other ventures. Page’s funding kickstarted a company trying to develop flying cars, and Brin at a conference last year discussed a budding interest in cryptocurrency.
In Video: Google’s Sundar Pichai to take control of Alphabet Inc.; Co-founders Larry Page, Sergei Brin to step aside.