He grew up without a car, but now he’s worth US$150 million
Born as Pichai Sundararajan, Sundar Pichai is best known for his current role as CEO of Google. He was first appointed on August 10, 2015, when the company underwent a restructuring exercise branding a firm named Alphabet Inc. as the parent firm of Google.
Months after, let’s take a look at a few of things that set Pichai apart.
Here are four:
1. Pichai was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth
Born in 1972 to Lakshmi and Raghunathan Pichai, the now-43-year-old grew up in what is now known as Chennai, India. While he may be worth US$150 million today, the Chief Exec did not always have deep pockets.
The Mumbai Mirror reported that Pichai had grown up without a “television or a car” and that his family only got access to a telephone connection when he turned 12.
His father, who worked as an electrical engineer for a conglomerate, recalled that the son was interested in his job, even at a young age. He told Bloomberg in an interview, “I think it really attracted him to technology.”
The younger Pichai did well academically, and went on to study engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology. Later on, he was selected to receive another scholarship, which would allow him to study Materials Science and Semiconductor Physics at Stanford University in the US.
However, even though tuition was covered by the scholarship, the family still had to borrow money, including taking out US$1,000 from the household account, to pay for the flight to the US and other travel-related expenses.
2. Pichai joined Google in 2004
About 11 years ago, Pichai entered Google to work on Google Toolbar, which allowed Internet users to search on Google, even when they were using other browsers like Internet Explorer or Safari.
In 2013, while managing Google’s Chrome operations that includes running the web browser and operating system, Pichai also took over Google’s Android business.
Prior to his career at Google, the technologist worked in management consulting under McKinsey & Company.
3. His first post on Medium is about intolerance in the US
Instead of using Google’s own Blogger.com, Pichai took to Medium, a popular writing and publishing portal developed by Twitter CEO Evan Williams to discuss racial and religious intolerance in the US.
His first and only post for now, titled ‘Let’s not let fear defeat our values‘, was posted on December 12, and gathered over 280 responses on the site itself.
In it, he wrote about his journey as an immigrant in the US, which is widely known as a country made up of immigrants.
He noted, “That is why it’s so disheartening to see the intolerant discourse playing out in the news these days — statements that our country would be a better place without the voices, ideas and the contributions of certain groups of people, based solely on where they come from, or their religion.”
4. He’s not afraid to do roadside chilling in Vietnam
— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) December 22, 2015
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