Sundar Pichai, the rising star within Google's ranks, has finally reached the top.
Since October, he had been overseeing the company's day-to-day operations, and on August 10, he got a title to match his responsibilities. Pichai will be the new CEO of Google when it restructures later this year as a subsidiary of a new parent company called Alphabet, led by Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
As Quartz reporter Max Nisen notes, the promotion was a major vote of confidence and a way for Google to keep Pichai, whose name is often floated around when there are CEO openings at other tech firms.
Pichai joined Google in 2004 from McKinsey. He started his career at the search giant as a product manager overseeing its browser search toolbar — not an incredibly exciting product but important at the time since it gave users the option to make Google their default search engine on Internet Explorer and Firefox.
Building on his success growing Google's market share, Pichai pushed the company to create Chrome and enter the browser wars, as Fortune reported in a 2010 story:
In a series of sometimes tense conversations with top brass around the time of a major update to IE in October 2006, Pichai argued that Microsoft could threaten a sizable chunk of Google's business, according to two executives who were there. "It was a doomsday-like scenario," one of the executives says. Shortly after, Google execs gave Chrome the green light.
The move paid off. Chrome is the dominant browser on the Web today, and it has spawned other products including the Chrome operating system, Chromebook laptop, and media player Chromecast.