Google CEO Sundar Pichai Becomes Focus of Regulators as Founders Step Down

Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Alex Wong/ Getty

As Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin relinquish their roles as Alphabet CEO and president respectively, Google CEO Sundar Pichai will soon become the sole focus of government regulators.

Reuters reports that this week, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepped down from their roles as the CEO and President of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Google CEO Sundar Pichai was promoted to the position of Alphabet CEO on Tuesday, making him the public face of Alphabet, Google, and all related firms. This could see more pressure placed entirely on Pichai from regulators.

Google received criticism in recent years after Page failed to appear at a Senate hearing in Washington, the departure of Alphabet’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt also damaged the company’s relationship with D.C. But some shareholders appear to believe that Pichai is up to the task of dealing with Washington.

Alphabet shareholder King Lip, the chief investment strategist at Baker Avenue Asset Management in San Francisco, commented that the Alphabet was going through a transformation and facing new challenges such as regulatory scrutiny and political attacks. Lip said in an email: “Pichai is uniquely suited to address given his overall affable attitude.”

Pichai sent an email to employees following a blog post from Page and Brin which announced their departure, in it, Pichai outlined what this would mean for the future of the firm. The email reads:

Hi everyone,

When I was visiting Googlers in Tokyo a few weeks ago I talked about how Google has changed over the years. In fact, in my 15+ years with Google, the only constant I’ve seen is change. This process of continuous evolution — which the founders often refer to as “uncomfortably exciting” – is part of who we are. That statement will feel particularly true today as you read the news Larry and Sergey have just posted to our blog.

The key message Larry and Sergey shared is this:

While it has been a tremendous privilege to be deeply involved in the day-to-day management of the company for so long, we believe it’s time to assume the role of proud parents — offering advice and love, but not daily nagging!

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. 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. He will be the executive responsible and accountable for leading Google, and managing Alphabet’s investment in our portfolio of Other Bets. 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!

I first met Larry and Sergey back in 2004 and have been benefiting from their guidance and insights ever since. The good news is I’ll continue to work with them — although in different roles for them and me. They’ll still be around to advise as board members and co-founders.

I want to be clear that this transition won’t affect the Alphabet structure or the work we do day to day. I will continue to be very focused on Google and the deep work we’re doing to push the boundaries of computing and build a more helpful Google for everyone. At the same time, I’m excited about Alphabet and its long term focus on tackling big challenges through technology.

The founders have given all of us an incredible chance to have an impact on the world. Thanks to them, we have a timeless mission, enduring values, and a culture of collaboration and exploration that makes it exciting to come to work every day. It’s a strong foundation on which we will continue to build. Can’t wait to see where we go next and look forward to continuing the journey with all of you.

— Sundar

Google is facing yet another antitrust investigation from European Union officials, just months after being fined $1.7 billion for antitrust violations. On Saturday, the E.U. confirmed that it had begun another investigation into the Silicon Valley Masters of the Universe.

An E.U. spokesperson told Business Insider: “The Commission has sent out questionnaires as part of a preliminary investigation into Google’s practices relating to Google’s collection and use of data. The preliminary investigation is ongoing.”

When questioned about the new investigation, a Google spokesperson told Business Insider: “We use data to make our services more useful and to show relevant advertising, and we give people the controls to manage, delete or transfer their data. We will continue to engage with the Commission and others on this important discussion for our industry.”

Google has had multiple issues with E.U. antitrust watchdogs in recent years, in 2019 the E.U. fined Google $1.7 billion for its search advertising platform. The firm was then fined a record $5 billion in 2018 over the dominance of its Android mobile operating system, and in 2017 Google was fined $2.7 billion for practices relating to its shopping service.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com

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