Immigrant of the Day: Sundar Pichai – Google’s New CEO

Posted on: August 11th, 2015
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Many of you may have read in today’s newspapers that Google is undergoing a major corporate transformation. It is changing it’s name to Alphabet and spinning off its various divisions in to subsidiary companies. The Google search engine and its related products will still be part of the subsidiary company that will continue operating under the name Google. A little confusing? Yes, but it’s following the model of other great companies that have done similar things in the past and given how diversified Google became over the years, the restructuring makes sense.

Google’s founders Sergei Brin and Larry Page will be moving to Alphabet and the new CEO of the Google subsidiary is Indian-born Sundar Pichai, who has a great immigrant story. Today’s New York Times includes this tidbit:

Born in Tamil Nadu, India, Mr. Pichai spent his early years in the Chennai region. In high school, he was captain of the cricket team. He earned a bachelor of engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur.

According to a long profile in Bloomberg Businessweek last year, the family did not get its first telephone until Sundar was 12. It was a rotary model. For much of the boy’s childhood, the family did not have a television or a car. The family would get around the city on a scooter, all four members riding at once.

 Mr. Pichai came to the United States and attained a master’s of science degree from Stanford, as well as a master’s in business administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania before working as an engineer at Applied Materials, and in management consulting at McKinsey & Company. He joined Google after trying to talk one of his McKinsey colleagues out of going there, then realizing the arguments in favor of joining the company were better.

There are a great many similar stories in Silicon Valley and the failure of our government to deal with the lack of visa availability for this talented community is a travesty. How many Sundar Pichai’s are we losing each year because of this nonfeasance on the part of the US Congress?