Pichai received his degree in metallurgical engineering from IIT Kharagpur and moved to the United States to pursue master’s studies at Stanford University in materials science and engineering.
He went on to earn an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was named the Siebel Scholar and Palmer Scholar, respectively.
Pichai, who joined Google in 2004, became the company’s CEO in 2015. But the journey to the top was not easy.
In an old interview with the New York Times, Pichai opened up about his childhood, revealing that he came from a modest family who shared a house with tenants.
“ Back to recommendation stories
“We slept 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 next to my bed,” Pichal had told the NYT.
“There was a simplicity to my life, which was very nice compared to today’s world,” he added.
Pichai was born in Tamil Nadu, India, and his father was an electrical engineer with a British conglomerate. Pichai’s father also owned an electrical component manufacturing plant.
After moving overseas and completing 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 the success of Chrome. Pichai led product management and innovation efforts for a suite of Google 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 he managed.
Prior to assuming the role of CEO of the company, he was appointed Chief Product Officer by then CEO Larry Page.
CEO Spot: Google vs. Microsoft
But did you know that Pichai was also a strong contender for CEO of Microsoft in 2014? The spot eventually went 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 attracted publicity in August 2017 when he fired an employee who wrote a ten-page manifesto criticizing Google’s diversity policies by claiming that “the distribution of preferences and capabilities of men and women differ in part due to biological factors”. causes and these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in technology and leadership.”
He was promptly 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 create great products for users who make a difference in their lives. To suggest that a group of our colleagues have traits that make them biologically less suited for this job is offensive and not acceptable,” said Pichai in a statement. on the Google blog page.
Earlier this year, the Google CEO received the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian honor.