Sundar Pichai Elevated to Alphabet CEO

Sundar Pichai-Getty-H 2018
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for WIRED25

Larry Page is stepping down as the chief of the Google parent company.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has been elevated to run the search giant's parent company, Alphabet, co-founder Larry Page and Sergey Brin announced Tuesday in a blog post. 

The move, which will see Page step down as Alphabet CEO and Brin vacate his post as president, is a vote of confidence for Pichai during a turbulent year for Google in which it has faced federal scrutiny and employees have pushed back against the company's corporate culture. Page and Brin will remain Alphabet board members and shareholders, which will allow them to continue to exert influence over the company that they founded in 1998.

"Sundar brings humility and a deep passion for technology to our users, partners and our employees every day," Page and Brin wrote in the blog post. "He's worked closely with us for 15 years, through the formation of Alphabet, as CEO of Google, and a member of the Alphabet board of directors. He shares our confidence in the value of the Alphabet structure, and the ability it provides us to tackle big challenges through technology. There is no one that we have relied on more since Alphabet was founded, and no better person to lead Google and Alphabet into the future."

Page and Brin formed Alphabet in 2015 to separate the Google business from the moonshot ideas (called Other Bets) in which they had begun to invest, including Nest and Waymo. Pichai, a Google veteran and then product chief, was named CEO of Google as Page kicked himself into the role of CEO of Alphabet. Brin took on the role of president in the holding company. 

"With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure," wrote Page and Brin. "We've never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a president." The pair continue to own a significant portion of Alphabet's stock and, combined, have more than 50 percent of the voting power. 

Alphabet shares were trading up less than 1 percent on the news. The stock closed the day flat at $1,295.28.