A new shakeup at Google has placed Sundar Pichai, who has been climbing the ranks at Google over the past several years, as the new CEO of the company.
Larry Page will now take on the role of CEO of Alphabet — a broader company that oversees Google’s moonshot projects and other areas that don’t pertain to Google’s core business (Google is now a subsidiary of Alphabet).
Based on what we’ve heard in the past, Pichai might be one of the kindest executives in the technology industry. And it sounds like he’s more than fit to handle the role of CEO.
One former Google employee that we spoke to at the end of 2014, who requested to remain anonymous, described Pichai’s talent for handling chaotic and stressful situations with ease.
“There was definitely a culture at Google where people didn’t always know what was happening,” this person previously told us. “But Sundar would walk into meetings, and he knew everything he needed to know. He did a good job of seeing how everything moved across different functions.”
One particular story sticks out to our source when recalling what it was like to work with Pichai. Before Google officially unveiled its Chrome browser in 2008, the news had leaked out on Labour Day during that year. A comic describing the browser had somehow been sent to a German blogger, and before long it had spread all over the internet.
It was a disaster for the Chrome team’s marketing department. Our source in particular had put in a lot of hard work and long hours on the marketing campaign for Chrome.
At 7 a.m. on Labour Day, a holiday that Google employees would usually have off, our source received a phone call saying there was some type of emergency happening at the Mountain View office. The marketing went into “hyperdrive,” as our source described it, turning on every marketing channel for Chrome.
“And what was amazing was you had hundreds of people on this team,” our source said. “It felt like Sundar noticed every single person there.”
Pichai didn’t seem angry about the leak, according to our source, and he handled the situation calmly.
“He was just down to business,” this person said. “He was like, ‘OK, we need to get started. Let’s move.’ I never saw any sort of anger come out of him.”
Our source was a low-level marketing employee at the time. Pichai, even back then, held a very important leadership position at Google.
But of the hundreds of employees on the Chrome team, Pichai took a particular liking to our source’s hard work.
“A week or two later I got a notification from my manager saying Sundar had peer-bonused me,” this person said. Peer bonusing is a system in which Google employees can give coworkers a spontaneous bonus on the spot. It’s reportedly in the range of $US175, so not huge money, but it is good, unexpected money and a sign of respect.
“Which was unheard of simply because he wasn’t my direct manager,” our source said. “And it stuck with me ever since because it was unheard of, someone of that level noticing the work of someone like me.”