Sundar Pichai will replace Larry Page as CEO of Alphabet
CEO of Google Sundar Pichai will replace Larry Page as CEO of Alphabet Inc., giving a long retirement from the public roles and active management by Sergey Brin's at the company they co-founded 21 years ago.
"Although it has been an honour to be deeply involved in the day-to-day management of the company for a long time, we believe it is time to take on the role of proud parents who give advice and love, but not a daily rebuke!" Page and Brin wrote in a blog the day after tomorrow.
Page, Brin and Pichai have been involved in focusing on the development of artificial intelligence programs to speed up web search and other tasks, while Pichai, a long-time leader in the product, has increased efforts to make this technology be available worldwide.
But the vision is facing unprecedented scrutiny, as governments on all five continents demand better guarantees, less competitive behaviour and more taxes from the world's largest online advertising company. Thousands of employees protested, and some even resigned because of persistent doubts about why the "not evil" faith is famous for Google, and before it was accepted by Page and Brin, it seemed to crack.
Investors said streamlining management could help Alphabet better respond to challenges and focus on increasing profits.
"This signals a departure from more ambiguous efforts such as Project Loon and more towards a technology-focused company that generates funds," said Kim Caughey Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Partners, referring to Alphabet's internet-by-balloons business.
Alphabet, which owns more than a dozen companies, including self-driving car technology Waymo and Verily Healthcare, emerged in 2015 as part of Google's restructuring.
Page, Known for his high expectations and strong ideas about technological details, Page wanted to focus on developing those new companies, which are losing money collectively. He left the largest and most profitable unit of the alphabet, Google, to Pichai, which speaks a similar humble language, which largely delegates direct reports to manage many product lines. Brin remained head of the alphabet and spent time in robotics and other research projects. CEO of Google Sundar Pichai is one of the key members of Alphabet as well as Google.
But Page and Brin, once the usual views the public events and at Google headquarters, are now seen less frequently. The pair of 46-year withdrew to the background, especially for Page as CEO, and has received criticism in the past two years from US employees and lawmakers who have asked for answers from Pichai rather than the company's controversial projects such as experimental application research for Chinese users.
At the same time, Page's role has mostly fallen to hands of Alphabet's chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, for startups, and Alphabet's legal officer, David Drummond, for the company's two large investment funds have fallen sharply.
Page and Brin will continue to be directors, but they will give up their roles as CEO and president, respectively, Alphabet said. The company said the president's role would not be filled, describing the changes discussed for a long time.
Alphabet said Page's voice had been affected for years by a chronic condition, but his health played no role in the decision to step down.
"Since Alphabet is now well established and Google and other bets are effectively acting as independent companies, it's time to streamline our management structure," the co-founders said. "We are deeply committed to Google and Alphabet in the long run."
While supporting the public, the founders still control more than 51% of the shares. As of April, Page received 26.1% of the total voting power in Alphabet, Brin 25.25% and Pichai less than 1%.
Alphabet shares rose 0.64% after the announcement hours to $ 1,303.
The company used the separation of Page and Pichai roles to defend their limited financial disclosures about YouTube and other Google-owned companies when the practice was challenged by U.S. securities regulators in 2017.
He said the publicly reported financial results were in line with what was reviewed as CEO of Alphabet. The regulators took no further action, but the company's stance has frustrated investors looking to conduct a deep assessment of the company's performance.
The alphabet declined to comment if public financial reporting would change with Pichai.
Pichai, 47, who spent 15 years at Google, is best known for leading the development of the Google Chrome browser. He subsequently guided product development and engineering across all Google services for a year before becoming CEO, thereby adding oversight to Google ads and cloud computing.
Page and Brin are active in other companies. Page's invested in a company trying to develop flying cars, and Brin discussed at last year's conference the growing interest in cryptocurrency.
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