Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who mostly have been out of the spotlight following their business restructuring four years ago, are relinquishing control of the parent company Alphabet to Google’s current CEO Sundar Pichai, the pair announced today in a joint press release.
The two men will remain Alphabet employees and retain their seats on the board, but they will no longer oversee the sprawling, nearly trillion-dollar empire they created over 20 years ago at Stanford University.
"With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent businesses, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure. We’ve never been the ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the business. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a president.
“He will be the executive responsible for leading Google and overseeing Alphabet’s investment in our Other Bets portfolio. We are deeply committed to Google and Alphabet for the long term and will remain actively involved as board members, investors and co-founders. However, we plan to continue frequent conversations with Sundar, especially on issues that we are passionate about.”
While the news is a shocking development for the direction of the future of Google, it is not surprising for those who have been tracking the careers of Page and Brin since 2015.
The two rarely made public appearances, spoke on analyst calls, or at product launches or the company’s annual I / O developer conference revealed their heads.
Brin, who once dived sky into I / O wearing the now-defunct Google Glass model pair, was often a showy futuristic-loving face of the company’s more ambitious projects, while Page –Google’s acting CEO before Pichai took over–was the overall executive head.
After the restructuring of the company, both effectively disappeared from public view.
Alphabet’s creation was controversial in 2015, marking Silicon Valley’s unprecedented new corporate structure at a time when the tech giants were accumulating huge power and consolidating industries.
Alphabet was designed to divide Google into its core business, including its search engine and nearly a dozen other massive products, as well as the company’s other disparate arms, such as its X lab and now its Waymo self-driving unit.
Alphabet creation also gave carte blanche to Page and Brin to fade from the limelight and let Pichai take the reins.
Pichai has continued to grow Google into an even greater facet of daily online life, overseeing the launch of the Pixel brand and other hardware activities by Google in addition to the huge investments in artificial intelligence and cloud computing by the company.