1. He is an Ivy Leaguer from India
Pichai, 43, originally from Tamil Nadu, a southeast state in India, had very modest beginnings, having been raised in a two-room apartment that required him and his brother to sleep on the living-room floor, according to a profile in the The Telegraph.
He first attended university in his home country, where he received a degree in technology from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur. Upon moving to the United States, he obtained a Master of Science from Stanford University and later an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s ivy-league-rated Wharton School of Business. At Wharton, he was honored as a Siebel Scholar and a Palmer Scholar, according to reports.
2. He knows how to navigate corporate politics
The former head of Chrome and Android is well-liked across the company and savvy at managing corporate politics, according to one of his former colleagues, Chris Beckmann, who served as a project manager at Google for several years.
“He avoided making enemies,” Beckmann said in a recent post on Quora. “Google has politics like any other large company, and Sundar navigated those politics to make his team successful while inflicting the least possible damage on any other team.”
3. He quickly rose through Google’s ranks
His likability has been one reason for his rapid rise through the ranks at Google. He was initially hired as a product manager, eventually reporting to then-head of product, Marissa Mayer, now CEO of Yahoo Inc. At the time he was a lead in the launch of Google’s Web browser, Chrome.
Despite a few hiccups in the Chrome launch, he was shortly thereafter promoted to vice president. He was ultimately promoted to senior vice president, taking on increasing oversight over Google products, including Chromebook, Chromecast and Gmail. In 2013, he was additionally handed the reins of Android when Andy Rubin stepped down. For the last year, he was largely viewed as a right-hand man for Page.
4.He turned down an offer from Twitter four years ago
He has been noticed by other companies as well, including Twitter Inc. In 2011, Twitter tried to poach Pichai to oversee products at the microblogging site after then-VP of product Jason Goldman stepped down. According to an AllThingsD article at the time citing unnamed sources, Google gave Pichai a significant pay raise to keep him on board.
His name was recently floated as a potential candidate for the role of CEO at Twitter, and FBR analyst William Bird said his promotion to CEO may have been a tactic by Page and Brin to keep Pichai on staff.
5. He’s been preparing for his promotion for almost a year
In a note to shareholders on Monday, Page said Pichai has “really stepped up since October” 2014, when he took on product and engineering responsibility for Google’s Internet business. “Sergey and I have been super excited about his progress,” Page said.