Google’s $200 million-dollar man, CEO Sundar Pichai, gains power position on Alphabet’s board

That Google’s parent company Alphabet has faith in the work of Google CEO Sundar Pichai could be deduced from his $200 million 2016 compensation.

But now Alphabet has handed Pichai another vote of confidence, along with a new position of power as an Alphabet board member.

“Sundar has been doing a great job as Google’s CEO, driving strong growth, partnerships, and tremendous product innovation,” Alphabet CEO and Google co-founder Larry Page said in a statement July 24 as Alphabet prepared to report its second-quarter earnings.

“I really enjoy working with him and I’m excited that he is joining the Alphabet board.”

Pichai came to Google in 2004 after working as an engineer and product manager at Santa Clara semiconductor firm Applied Materials, then as a McKinsey & Company consultant. Starting at Google on a team dedicated to development of the Search toolbar, Pichai proposed that Google build its own browser, which led to development of the hugely popular Chrome. In 2013, he was put in charge of overseeing the Android operating system, and the following year he was named head of products for Google, before landing the CEO job in August 2015.

Under Pichai’s leadership, Alphabet’s revenue from Google jumped to $89.5 billion in 2016 from $74.5 billion the year before. Alphabet’s stock has risen in value by more than 50 percent since Pichai became Google CEO.

Pichai becomes the 13th Alphabet board member, and the second from Google, alongside cloud-computing head Diane Greene. Alphabet now has five company insiders on the board, where Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt, Google co-founder and Alphabet president Sergey Brin, and Page.

The power of Alphabet’s board is limited by the ownership by Page and Brin of 51 percent of total shareholder voting power.

Alphabet is set to announce earnings after the market closes July 24. A massive $2.74 billion European Union antitrust fine is expected to bite hefty chunks out of quarterly profit and shareholders’ earnings, although Alphabet says it may appeal.

 

Photo: Google CEO Sundar Pichai in 2013 when he was a senior vice-president (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group)

 

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