There were louder executives at Google. There were brainier ones. There were more aggressive ones and those who were doubtlessly better at throwing a sharp elbow, too. And many more political ones — even if those who have been running one of the world’s most powerful companies continued to think of themselves as benign, long after it was clear to everyone else that they were many things but that.
Most of them are gone. Most are as rich as Croesus. But they’re not at the pinnacle of one of the mightiest companies on the planet.
Because in the end, the nice guy — Sundar Pichai — finished first. Mr. Pichai on Tuesday was named chief executive of Alphabet, the company chassis under which the unbeatable and wildly profitable search engine lives, along with a number of other less impressive initiatives. The soft-spoken executive, who was born in India, had worked his way up a long ladder from product manager to vice president to chief executive of Google. Now this big announcement.
Page and Brin will still control the company. Pichai is the public face. A friend who used to work at Google says
– He’s not too bright
– He’s not too courageous
– He lacks deep vision
This is probably what you would expect from someone who is there to take Page and Brin’s implied marching orders.
Pichai gets compared to Satya Nadella of Microsoft. But at least Nadella has pivoted Microsoft in many new directions, fundamentally transforming the OS and productivity application company into something much more diverse.