Google Picks Indian-American CEO

Silicon Valley tech giant Google has named Indian-born IIT-educated Sundar Pichai to head its search, ads, maps, Play Store, YouTube, and Android businesses as part of a major reorganization announced by the company. Current Google CEOs Larry Page and Sergei Brin have kicked themselves upstairs to lead Alphabet, a new holding company which will include Google as well as affiliated companies like the life-extension project Calico and a drone delivery venture called Wing, according to media reports.

FOBs and ABCDs:

Pichai and other Indian-born individuals in Silicon Valley are often referred to as "FOBs" (Fresh Off the Boat) by American-born Indians. FOBs return the "affection" by calling American-born Indians "ABCDs" (American Born Confused Desis). For those unfamiliar with the Indian vernacular, Pichai's first name Sundar means beautiful. All joking aside, it's a matter of great pride and joy to Indians and other immigrants for one of their own to be picked to head an iconic Silicon Valley tech giant.

Google Revenue Growth Slowing



Google Revenue Growth:

While Google continues to generate billions of dollars in cash, its revenue growth is clearly slowing. Google's revenue growth has halved in a year-- from 22% annual growth in Q2/2014 to 11% in Q2/2015. The trend is clear: High growth can not be sustained as new social media competitors like Facebook and Twitter grow to target the same ad market.


Boston Consulting Group's Market Share vs Growth Matrix



Cash Cow Management:

It seems that Google founders Brin and Page have decided to delegate the tending of the cash cow called Google to Pichai.  This will free up the founding duo to focus on investing in new ideas to grow other large high-growth tech businesses in the future as Google's ad revenue growth continues to decline. It's a well-known concept first documented by Boston Consulting Group in a matrix with four quadrants: Stars, Dogs, Cash Cows and Question Marks.

Difficult Transition:

Other high-growth tech companies have found this transition from a cash-cow to new high-growth products very difficult. Apple did well with the PC business but almost failed with its decline until Steve Jobs returned with iPod, iPhone and Tablets to reclaim its high-growth trajectory.  Intel and Microsoft continue to struggle since the growth of Wintel PCs flattened. It will be a big test for Google founders to manage this major transition.

Summary:

Major reorganization announced by Google today is a recognition of the difficult transition its founders face. With all its talent, Google probably has as good a chance as any tech company to meet this challenge head-on. Brin and Page must continue to focus on hiring and retaining the top talent to pull it off.

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Excerpts from New York Times Sept 2013 when Microsoft picked Satya Nadella:


“It is very hard to be a broad-based tech conglomerate,” said David Yoffie, a professor at the Harvard Business School.

“It makes it harder to manage, which is a challenge for Microsoft (applies to Google as well) no matter who the successor is,” said Mr. Yoffie. Long before Mr. Ballmer announced his retirement, he and Bill Gates, the Microsoft chairman and co-founder, had both quietly acknowledged that identifying a new leader for Microsoft would be hard. A person who spoke to Mr. Gates several years ago on the subject of succession recalls the Microsoft chairman saying he would support replacing Mr. Ballmer if he could think of someone who could do a better job.

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Mr. Sherlund has speculated that Microsoft could give Facebook, with which Microsoft has an existing partnership, control of Bing, in exchange for a share of revenue from the additional traffic it would drive to Facebook’s site. Mr. Sherlund estimates that Microsoft has accumulated losses of more than $17 billion in the search and online business.

Still, while it has sold off or spun out smaller businesses in the past — the travel site Expedia originated at the company in the late ’90s — Microsoft has shown no interest in jettisoning major products.

In its defense, Microsoft notes that its long line of products yields many synergies. Xbox uses a variation of the Windows operating system, while Bing provides search services that are tightly integrated with Windows, Xbox and the Windows Phone mobile operating system.

Further, it could be argued that Microsoft’s competitors are recognizing that, like Microsoft, they need to develop products in areas once considered outside their expertise. Google bought Motorola Mobility to help it get into the hardware business. Apple has been on a start-up acquisition binge to improve its online mapping service. And Amazon, once entirely focused on consumers, has become an important supplier of cloud services to businesses.

Even with those changes, Mr. Yoffie of Harvard said Microsoft’s big rivals are still more focused than it is. “I think the fundamental question for the next C.E.O. of Microsoft,” he said, “is, what is his vision of Microsoft?”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/09/technology/worries-that-microsoft-is-growing-too-tricky-to-manage.html?_r=0
Riaz Haq said…
#Google Executives See Cracks in Company Success. Many are worried that #tech giant is suffering from its #Indian-#American CEO Sundar Pichai's leadership style. His slow deliberations feel like a way to play it safe and arrive at a “no.” #SiliconValley https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/21/technology/sundar-pichai-google.html?smid=tw-share

The executives, some of whom regularly interacted with Mr. Pichai, said Google did not move quickly on key business and personnel moves because he chewed over decisions and delayed action. They said that Google continued to be rocked by workplace culture fights, and that Mr. Pichai’s attempts to lower the temperature had the opposite effect — allowing problems to fester while avoiding tough and sometimes unpopular positions.

A Google spokesman said internal surveys about Mr. Pichai’s leadership were positive. The company declined to make Mr. Pichai, 49, available for comment, but it arranged interviews with nine current and former executives to offer a different perspective on his leadership.

“Would I be happier if he made decisions faster? Yes,” said Caesar Sengupta, a former vice president who worked closely with Mr. Pichai during his 15 years at Google. He left in March. “But am I happy that he gets nearly all of his decisions right? Yes.”

Google is facing a perilous moment. It is fighting regulatory challenges at home and abroad. Politicians on the left and the right are united in their mistrust of the company, making Mr. Pichai a fixture at congressional hearings. Even his critics say he has so far managed to navigate those hearings without ruffling the feathers of lawmakers or providing more ammunition to his company’s foes.

The Google executives complaining about Mr. Pichai’s leadership acknowledge that, and say he is a thoughtful and caring leader. They say Google is more disciplined and organized these days — a bigger, more professionally run company than the one Mr. Pichai inherited six years ago.

During his time leading Google, it has doubled its work force to about 140,000 people, and Alphabet has tripled in value. It is not unusual for a company that has grown so large to appear sluggish or unwilling to risk what has made it so wealthy. Mr. Pichai has taken some steps to counter that. In 2019, for example, he reorganized Google and created new decision-making bodies so fewer decisions needed his signoff.

Yet Google, which was founded in 1998, is dogged by the perception that its best days are behind it. In Silicon Valley, where recruiting and retaining talent serve as a referendum on a company’s prospects, executives at other tech companies said it had never been easier to persuade a Google executive to forgo a stable, seven-figure salary for an opportunity elsewhere.

Mr. Pichai, a former McKinsey consultant, joined Google in 2004 and quickly demonstrated a knack for navigating a company teeming with big egos and sharp elbows.

In 2015, when Google became part of Alphabet, Mr. Pichai took over as Google’s chief executive. He was promoted again to oversee the parent company as well when Larry Page, a Google co-founder, stepped down as Alphabet’s boss four years later.

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