Google co-founders Page and Brin step down, Pichai to take over

Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are giving up control of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

The two executives, who rarely make public appearances, will hand the reins to current Google CEO Sundar Pichai, they announced in a press release on Tuesday. While they will still be employed at Alphabet and keep their seats on the board, they are relinquishing their daily responsibilities of the nearly trillion-dollar company to Pichai, who has basically become the face of Google in recent years.

Page and Brin founded Google nearly two decades ago while students at Stanford University. In a statement, they said Alphabet is now well-established, and Google is operating effectively as an independent company, so it’s a “natural time” to simplify the management structure.

“We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President. Going forward, Sundar will be the CEO of both Google and Alphabet,” Page and Brin explained.

Pichai will now be the executive “responsible and accountable for leading Google, and managing Alphabet’s investment in our portfolio of Other Bets,” they added. “We are deeply committed to Google and Alphabet for the long term, and will remain actively involved as Board members, shareholders and co-founders. In addition, we plan to continue talking with Sundar regularly, especially on topics we’re passionate about.”

Alphabet was born four years ago after a restructure, which was meant to split Google from other huge efforts at the company, including so-called “Other Bets” from X lab moonshot factory (formerly Google X). Since the restructure, both Page and Brin have completely slowed down and even halted their appearances at product launches and the company’s annual I/O developer conference.

Brin even once sky-dived onto the I/O stage, while Page was once the acting CEO of Google before Pichai was given the baton. As CEO, Pichai has spearheaded the launch of the Pixel brand and Google’s immense focus on AI. Alphabet’s stock price and revenue have also doubled since 2015. But not everything is on the up and up. Google has faced a lot of criticism over its handling of user data.

AAnd in 2018, more than 20,000 Google employees participated in a worldwide walkout to protest the way in which the company handled cases of sexual harassment,  the company’s involvement in a Department of Defense drone project, and other grievances.

Page and Brin must be pleased with how Pichai is helping handle these issues, however, because he’s now the top dog at Alphabet.

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