Sundar at Google helm inspirational

Sundar Pichai, with his appointment as the CEO of Google, is the latest to join the growing band of Indian leaders of iconic technology companies. It is a remarkable achievement for an Indian from an ordinary background to make such a meteoric rise to the top of the world’s leading technology company. The IIT graduate had joined the company only 12 years ago. He was responsible for or had a major role in many of the new products and features Google introduced during this period and this has been well recognised. Last year, he became the head of the technology and products division, which effectively made him the second-in-command in the company after its co-founder Larry Page. Sundar’s achievement is an acknowledgement of the fact that ability, hard work and dedication override other considerations and would be well rewarded in the best organisations. That is why they become the best.

Many top companies like Microsoft, Nokia, Pepsico, Adobe Systems and Master Card are headed by Indians. There are more Indians than those belonging to other nationalities, after Americans, in the S&P 500 companies. Most of them are from modest backgrounds and have proved themselves with technology skills or managerial abilities. This should be inspirational for the lakhs of young Indians who aspire to make it big in technology and business on the world stage. But the question should also be asked why they do not get their due in the environment at home.

Pichai’s elevation also came as part of a major organisational restructuring of Google, which has made the company leaner, more agile and more transparent. Google had grown too big too soon, with too many activities, projects and proposals being administered and undertaken centrally by the same management. It has now been reorganised more loosely, with a holding company, Alphabet, led by Larry Page and another co-founder Sergey Brin, placed at the helm of the group. Google under Sundar will be a separate company and the company’s “moonshoot” projects will be handled by separate entities. Autonomous units handling different areas will increase efficiency and give a better sense of responsibility to the constituents. Google is a company with many futuristic dreams like driverless cars and a life extension project. It values innovation and disruptive technologies which change habits, attitudes and lives. The company has done well to separate the units which pursue high-risk research and activities from the units which do normal business. The company’s investors would also be happy with such an arrangement, as shown by the welcome given by the stock market to the restructuring announcement.
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