Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai will replace Larry Page as CEO of parent Alphabet Inc, extending a long retreat from public roles and active management by Page and Sergey Brin at the company they co-founded 21 years ago.
While it has been a tremendous privilege to be deeply involved in the day-to-day management of the company for so long, we believe it’s time to assume the role of proud parents – offering advice and love, but not daily nagging!” Page and Brin wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.
Page, Brin and Pichai have all shared an emphasis on developing artificial intelligence software to make web searching and other tasks faster, while long-time product leader Pichai has increased efforts to make such technology available globally.
But the vision faces unprecedented scrutiny, with governments on five continents demanding better safeguards, less anticompetitive conduct and more taxes from the world’s largest online advertising company. Thousands of employees have protested, and some have even resigned, over ongoing uncertainty over why the “don’t be evil” dogma famous to Google – and once embraced by Page and Brin – appears to be cracking.
Streamlining management could help Alphabet better respond to the challenges and focus on growing profits, investors said.
“This signals a shift away from the more fringy efforts – like Project Loon – and more towards a company focused on technology that makes money,” said Kim Caughey Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners, referring to Alphabet’s internet-by-balloons business.