Sundar Pichai: salary, net worth and career history of Google CEO explained, and who is his wife Anjali Pichai?

The Google and Alphabet boss will discuss his career in an new interview with BBC journalist Amol Rajan, shown on BBC Two on 12 June

Sundar Pichai might not be a name you hear everyday, but you most likely use the search engine he is CEO of several times a day.

The Indian-born entrepreneur has headed up the leading internet giant since 2015, but had already worked for Google for more than a decade.

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So, how has he become one of the most influential men in the world of tech and internet, and what has he said about the growth of internet technology? This is what you need to know.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has worked for the company since 2004 (Picture: Getty Images)

Who is Sundar Pichai?

Pichai Sundararajan - better known as Sundar Pichai - was born in Madras, Eastern India, in 1972.

He grew up in a practicing Hindu family and hoped to become an International Cricket player. He lived with his parents in a two-bedroom apartment in the city. His father was an electrical engineer and owned a business which made electrical components.

The family did not have a car or television, and he recalled the first phone being brought into his home when he was 12 years old.

Sundar Pichai signed the White Houses Pledge To Americas Workers in 2019, committing to a White House initiative designed to get private companies to expand job training. (Picture: Getty Images)

Pichai’s first degree is from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, in metallurgical engineering, he then moved to the US to study at Stanford.

He told The Guardian he “did not understand the internet,” when he first arrived in the US.

Pichai added: “The change was too much for me. I think I was a little lost. But I felt [Silicon] Valley was a special place.

“People would take me seriously for my ideas, not because of who I was or where I came from.

“It’s the remarkable thing about America we take for granted: that I could come and, after day one, my opinions mattered.”

Following his studies, he briefly worked in product management and consultancy, before joining Google in 2004, aged 32.

He is also a big cricket and football fan, his favourite sportsmen are Sachin Tendulkhar and Sunil Kavaskar.

Who is he married to?

Pichai married Anjali Pichai after they met at the Indian Institute of Technology and began dating.

She is a chemical engineer and both now live in the US and are American citizens, according to Pichai’s interview with Amol Rajan for BBC Two.

When Sundar moved to the US to study at Stanford, Anjali stayed in India and the couple would go up to six months without speaking due to not being able to affor international calls.

She moved to the US to begin her career in the 1990s, and they now have two teenage children, a son named Kavya and a daughter named Kiran.

Sudar credits his wife for his success at Google, as he said she convinced him to stay with the company when he received lucrative offers from competitors Twitter and Yahoo.

His career at Google and Alphabet Inc.

Pichai first joined Google to head up the development of Google software initiatives, such as the creation of Google Chrome and Chrome OS.

Not long after joining Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, he began to climb the ladder. By 2009, he was tasked with demonstrating Chrome OS and the Chromebook to tech giants, prior to its public launch in 2012.

By 2013, he was overseeing the development of Android software and, as Google continued to grow and expand, he was appointed as CEO of the company in August 2015.

He undertook his new role from that October, when Page and Brin launched Google’s new holding company, Alphabet Inc.

In 2014, he was rumoured to be a contender for the new Microsoft CEO when Steve Ballmer stepped down. Instead, fellow Indian-born American Satya Nadella was given the role.

In December 2019, Pichai became the CEO of Alphabet Inc.

What is Sundar Pichai’s net worth?

His net worth, as of June 2021, is approximately $1.3 billion (£943 million).

He earns $2M per year as CEO of Google, as well as owning stocks and shares in the multi-billion dollar company.

Controversies

Since his appointment as CEO, Pichai has come under fire for several of his professional decisions.

During Trump’s presidency, he was accused of running a Demcratic-supporting narrative on Google’s search engines. In 2018, he had to provide testimony to the US Congressional Committee that his employees could not affect the search engine in a politically bias way.

In 2017, he also caused controversy when he fired a Google employee for writing a manifesto which criticised the company's diversity policies.

The employee stated "distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and ... these differences may explain why we don't see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”

Pichai sacked the employee, who suggested men were more biologically adept to working for the company at a superior level, saying "to suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK".

When is Amol Rajan’s interview with Sundar Pichai on TV?

‘Amol Rajan interviews Sunda Pichai’ is on BBC Two at 9pm on 12 June.

The hour-long documentary will also be available on BBC iPlayer.