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NRI Worldwide > NRI Profile

Sundar Pichai the second most important person at Google
Report dated 02/07/2014 @ 4:01 PM

Sundar Pichai  the second most important person at Google Sundar Pichai, who was promoted to head Google's Android division last year, seems to have quickly risen to prominence as the organisation's tallest leader after CEO Larry Page.

A new Bloomberg Businessweek profile dubs him "the most powerful man in mobile" and even recounts that Pichai was essential to diffusing tensions between Samsung and Google early this year over the former's decision to relegate Android to the background in new devices.

Many at Google see him as CEO Larry Page's likely replacement, when the time comes.

Pichai, who has an educational background in business administration, has worked for Google since 2004. He started as a product manager for Google Toolbar, an extension that Internet Explorer users could install for making quick Google searches.

He proved he could build strong relationships with other companies and managed to grow Toolbar's user base to about one in four web users by 2006.

Marissa Mayer eventually made him the director of product management and Larry Page immediately promoted Pichai to a senior vice president position when he took the CEO spot in 2011.

Many Google employees picture Pichai as being the next CEO. He's like the Tim Cook to Apple's Steve Jobs: Not necessarily a man with a grand creative vision about how the company will change the world, but one that knows how to lead.

Today, Pichai is Page's right-hand man when it comes to important meetings. He joined Page when he met with WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum to convince him not to sell his messaging startup to Facebook and he helped Page convince Nest's Tony Fadell to join his company with the Google team.

When Microsoft was looking for a replacement for former CEO Steve Ballmer, the company reached out to Pichai as a possible candidate. Twitter also tried to poach him to be a head of product in 2011.

Pichai is a team player. He has a knack for avoiding the drama and is collaborative. As one employee said, "He got s**t done without alienating the entire company."

He's also known for being an emphatic leader. When he reported to Marissa Mayer, he used to wait for hours outside her office to make sure that she gave his team solid work-performance scores. He wanted to make sure they were always treated fairly.

Pichai's team was responsible for launching Google's Chrome browser in 2008. Pichai had the tough job of calling up Google's partners like Apple, which makes Safari, and Mozilla, which makes Firefox to make sure that those relationships remained solid even though Google was releasing a competitive product. He managed to handle the situation extremely diplomatically.

Pichai also knows when to throw his weight around. During a tense meeting at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Pichai reportedly told Samsung's mobile-products leader that Google was willing to "walk away" from its enormous phone partnership with the company.

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