Pichai Sundararajan (born 12 July 1972), also known as Sundar Pichai, is an Indian American business executive.
Pichai is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Google Inc. Formerly the Product Chief of Google, Pichai's current role was announced on 10 August 2015, as part of the restructuring process that made Alphabet Inc. into Google's parent company, and he assumed the position on 2 October 2015.
Early life and education
Pichai was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India to a middle class Brahmin family. Sundar Pichai’s mother Lakshmi was a stenographer and his father, Regunatha Pichai was an electrical engineer at GEC, the British conglomerate. His father also had a manufacturing plant that produced electrical components. Sundar grew up in a two-room apartment in Ashok Nagar, Chennai.
Sundar completed schooling in Jawahar Vidyalaya, a Central Board of Secondary Education school in Ashok Nagar, Chennai and completed the Class XII from Vana Vani school in the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. Pichai earned his degree from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur in Metallurgical Engineering. He is currently a distinguished alumnus.  He holds an M.S. from Stanford University in Material Sciences and Engineering, and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was named a Siebel Scholar and a Palmer Scholar, respectively.
Pichai worked in engineering and product management at Applied Materials and in management consulting at McKinsey & Company.
Pichai joined Google in 2004, where he led the product management and innovation efforts for a suite of Google's client software products, including Google Chrome and Chrome OS, as well as being largely responsible for Google Drive. He went on to oversee the development of different applications such as Gmail and Google Maps. On 19 November 2009, Pichai gave a demonstration of Chrome OS; the Chromebook was released for trial and testing in 2011, and released to the public in 2012. On 20 May 2010, he announced the open-sourcing of the new video codec VP8 by Google and introduced the new video format, WebM.
On 13 March 2013, Pichai added Android to the list of Google products that he oversees. Android was formerly managed by Andy Rubin. He was a director of Jive Software from April 2011 to 30 July 2013. Pichai was selected to become the next CEO of Google on 10 August 2015 after previously being appointed Product Chief by CEO, Larry Page. On 24 October 2015 he stepped into the new position at the completion of the formation of Alphabet Inc., the new holding company for the Google company family.
Pichai had been suggested as a contender for Microsoft's CEO in 2014, a position that was eventually given to Satya Nadella.
In August 2017, Pichai drew publicity for firing a Google employee who wrote a ten-page manifesto criticizing the company's diversity policies and arguing that "distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and ... these differences may explain why we don't see equal representation of women in tech and leadership". While noting that the manifesto raised a number of issues that are open to debate, Pichai said in a memo to Google employees that "to suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK".
In December 2017, Pichai was a speaker at the World Internet Conference in China, where he stated that “a lot of work Google does is to help Chinese companies. There are many small and medium-sized businesses in China who take advantage of Google to get their products to many other countries outside of China.”
Pichai is married to Anjali Pichai and has two children. Pichai's interests include soccer and cricket. He is an avid fan of FC Barcelona and states that "he watches every game of the club".
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This is a contributed article by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google. A version of the essay was originally published on NBCNews.com.
Tune in to MSNBC Friday, January 19, at 7 pm PT/10 pm ET to see Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki onstage in San Francisco with Recode executive editor and co-founder Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Ari Melber in a special town hall, “Revolution: Google and YouTube Changing the World.”
It’s clear that people need more options to thrive in the digital world. The next generation of workers will depend on how we evolve education and tech in the coming years.
When you think of how to help our workforce thrive and find opportunities in the digital world, the first word that often comes to mind is “code.” Nearly every digital-skills program over the past decade has focused on computer science, with a lot of emphasis on young students. Coding, of course, is vital and a core skill for America to invest in. Google has focused resources and employee time helping people from all backgrounds to code — from helping introduce students to the basics, to offering 10,000 free Udacity courses in coding for apps, to training other businesses in how to become experts in programming artificial intelligence. All of this will help meet the growing need for workers who can write the software that will power everyone’s businesses. And it will help countless people more move into in-demand, high paying careers.
But the focus on code has left a potentially bigger opportunity largely unexplored. In the past, people were educated and learned job skills, and that was enough for a lifetime. Now, with technology changing rapidly and new job areas emerging and transforming constantly, that’s no longer the case. We need to focus on making lightweight, continuous education widely available. This is just as crucial to making sure that everyone can find opportunities in the future workplace.
There are two areas that are relevant here. The first is around basic digital skills training. An office admin, for example, now needs to use online programs to run budgets, scheduling, accounting and more. While digital technology should be empowering people, it can often alienate them from their own jobs.
Some of these skills didn’t exist five years ago, yet workers are today expected to have them. A recent report by the Brookings Institute says that jobs in the US requiring “medium-digital” skills in America have grown from 40 percent of jobs in 2002 to 48 percent of jobs in 2016.
The digital skills necessary to do these jobs are far easier to learn than code, and should be easier to deliver at scale. For example, we rolled out a “Grow with Google” program, and partnered with Goodwill last year to incorporate digital skills training into its already amazing training infrastructure for job seekers. One trainee spoke of the value of her own experiences. “Before I learned digital skills, I felt unsure of myself,” she says. “Now I feel confident. You have to feel confident in what you do in order to be successful and move on in life.”
Through these trainings, people learn about using technology to research, to plan events, analyze data and more. They don’t require a formal degree or certificate. We think there’s great scope to expand this model, and teach hard and soft skills that can empower a workforce that has access to constant, accredited learning opportunities as job requirements change.
Second, we have a huge opportunity to rethink training for jobs that are core to the digital economy, but that don’t require coding. IT support is a clear opportunity, here. Just as anyone has a clear path to becoming an auto mechanic, we need a similar path to the 150,000 open positions for IT support, in which people maintain the machines and software that underpin technology services. Yet no training today efficiently connects people to that opportunity.
We learned this ourselves through an IT-support apprenticeship program we offered, with the Bay Area’s Year Up job-training program. Over 90 percent of the young adults met or exceed Google’s expectations as apprentices, but we noticed they didn’t return to apply for full-time jobs. It turned out that the standard, two-year computer science degree cost too much time and money, teaching skills that those former apprentices simply didn’t need to start their careers.
So we developed, and just announced, a new IT certificate program alongside Coursera that’s far more focused and flexible. We believe in just 8 to 12 months, it teaches everything you need to be an IT support technician. IT support jobs are predicted to grow by 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than most other occupations the government tracks. We’re giving 10,000 people free access to the course and will connect graduates to job opportunities at places like Bank of America, Walmart, Sprint, GE Digital, Infosys, TEKSystems, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center — as well as Google. If the program works, the payoff will be substantial. The median annual wage for IT support is close to the median salary in America.
You can imagine this lightweight, focused model being applied to other tech-related jobs of the future: Robust certification programs for project management, delivery fleet operation, and other jobs no one can imagine today, but that will be obvious — and ubiquitous — in five years’ time.
Moving beyond code and intensive degrees to these constant, lightweight and ubiquitous forms of education will take resources and experimentation. But that effort should help close today’s skills gaps, while making sure future skills gaps don’t open. That’s part of the reason Google has invested $1 billion over five years to help find new approaches to connect people to opportunities at work and help small and medium businesses everywhere grow in the digital economy.
We should make sure that the next generation of jobs are good jobs, in every sense. Rather than thinking of education as the opening act, we need to make sure it’s a constant, natural and simple act across life — with lightweight, flexible courses, skills and programs available to everyone.
As Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai is responsible for Google’s product development and technology strategy, as well as the company’s day-to-day-operations. Reach him @sundarpichai.