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The Main Difference Between Google's Rising Star Sundar Pichai And CEO Larry Page

Sundar pinchaiReuters/Elijah NouvelageSundar Pichai.

Google’s Sundar Pichai, who was previously tasked with overseeing the company’s Chrome and Android units, just got a major promotion last week.

Now, he’s essentially in charge of all of Google’s major consumer products including Maps, Search, and Google+ as well as commerce and ads.

CEO Larry Page will be stepping back to focus on the “bigger picture.”

According to one former Google employee, the move seems natural — mainly because Page and Pichai offer two very different types of skill sets that complement each other. Maarten Hooft, a partner at the venture capital firm Quest Venture Partners who worked at Google for six years, between 2006 and 2012, described it like this when speaking to Business Insider:

If I [were] to highlight one differentiator, [it’s that] Larry can take on that blue sky vision. He’s not afraid of setting an audacious goal. Whereas I think Sundar is more of a great operator. While Larry and Sergey [Brin] have these visions and can start these initiatives, I think it’s Sundar that’s the guy that can just get it done. He can assemble the team, he can appoint the right people, and he’s the one that makes it happen. That’s not to say that Sundar doesn’t have any product vision. But in terms of the grand 10-year horizon, I think Larry probably has more of that than Sundar does.

Hooft, who joined Google in 2006 as part of the search distribution team before moving to the Android department as a technical program manager in 2010, made it clear that these statements were based on his personal views and were not necessarily definitive.

Still, as a someone who spent time at the company for six years, Hooft was able to offer some insight as to how valuable Pichai was to Google.

“If there’s anybody that could take over as CEO one day, I would see Sundar as being a great choice for doing that,” Hooft said. “There’s a lot of smart people [at Google], but in terms of the consumer products he’s worked on so far, I doubt they would be as successful without Sundar being there.”

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