Pichai earned his degree in metallurgical engineering from IIT Kharagpur and moved to the United States to pursue M.S from Stanford University in materials science and engineering.
He then got an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was named a Siebel Scholar and a Palmer Scholar, respectively.
Pichai, who joined Google in 2004, became the CEO of the company in 2015. But the journey to the top wasn’t easy.
In an old interview with the New York Times, Pichai had talked about his childhood, revealing that he came from a modest family who shared a house with tenants.
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“We would sleep on the living room floor. There was a drought when I was growing up, and we had anxiety. Even now, I can never sleep without a bottle of water beside my bed,” Pichal had told NYT.
“There was a simplicity to my life, which was very nice compared with today’s world,” he added.
Pichai was born in India’s Tamil Nadu, and his father was an electrical engineer at a British conglomerate. Pichai’s father also had a manufacturing plant that produced electrical components.
After moving abroad and finishing college, Pichai joined McKinsey & Company where he worked in engineering and product management at Applied Materials and in management consulting.
But in 2004, he joined Google where he gained major popularity for Chrome success. Pichai led the product management and innovation efforts for a suite of Google’s client software products such as Chrome and Chrome OS. He was also largely responsible for Google Drive.
He went on to oversee tons of new products including Gmail and Google Maps. In 2013, Pichai added Android to the growing list of Google products that he managed.
Before taking up the role of company CEO, he was appointed as Product Chief by the then CEO Larry Page.
CEO Spot: Google Vs Microsoft
But did you know that Pichai was also a strong contender for the CEO position at Microsoft in 2014? The spot was eventually passed on to Satya Nadella. In December 2019, Pichai also became the CEO of Alphabet Inc.
Sundar Pichai (left) and Satya Nadella (right)
After joining Google, Pichai first majorly attracted publicity was in August 2017 when he fired an employee who had written a ten-page manifesto, slamming Google’s diversity policies by arguing that “distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”
He was soon fired by Pichai who said the 10-page memo “violates our code of conduct and crosses the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes.”
“Our job is to build great products for users that make a difference in their lives. To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,” Pichai had said in a statement released on Google blog page.
Earlier this year, the Google CEO was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian award.