Google's co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, are giving up control of Alphabet, Google's parent company.
The two executives, who rarely make public appearances, are handing over the reins to current Google CEO Sundar Pichai, they both announced in a press release on Tuesday. While they will still be employed at Alphabet and keep their seats on the board, they are relinquishing their daily responsibilities of the nearly trillion-dollar company to Pichai, who has become the public face of Google.
Page and Brin founded Google nearly two decades ago while students at Stanford University. In a statement, they said Alphabet is now well-established, and Google is operating effectively as an independent company, so it’s a "natural time" to simplify the management structure.
"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. Going forward, Sundar will be the CEO of both Google and Alphabet,” explained Page and Brin. Pichai will not only be "responsible and accountable for leading Google," but also "managing Alphabet’s investment in our portfolio of Other Bets," they said.
The pair added: "We are deeply committed to Google and Alphabet for the long term and will remain actively involved as Board members, shareholders, and co-founders. In addition, we plan to continue talking with Sundar regularly, especially on topics we’re passionate about.”
Alphabet was born four years ago after a restructure meant to split Google from other huge efforts at the company, including the so-called "Other Bets" from the X lab moonshot factory (formerly Google X). Since this massive restructure, both Page and Brin have completely slowed down and even halted their appearances at Google product launches and the company's annual I/O developer conference.
Brin is famous for once sky-diving onto the I/O stage, while Page was once the acting CEO of Google before passing the baton to Pichai. As CEO, Pichai spearheaded the launch of the Pixel brand and Google's immense focus on artificial intelligence. Alphabet's stock price and revenue have also doubled since 2015. But not everything is on the up and up. Google has faced a lot of criticism over its handling of user data.
And, in 2018, more than 20,000 Google employees participated in a worldwide walkout to protest how the company handled sexual harassment, the company’s involvement in a Department of Defense drone project, and other grievances.
Page and Brin must be pleased with how Pichai is helping handle these issues, however, because he's about to become the CEO of both Alphabet and Google. Pichai said in a separate letter that this executive change will not impact the company. "At the same time, I'm excited about Alphabet and its long term focus on tackling big challenges through technology," he said.