Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have stepped down from their executive roles, leaving Google CEO Sundar Pichai at the helm of parent company Alphabet.
Page, who was Alphabet CEO, and Brin, who was Alphabet President, announced it was simply time to step down from the US$133 billion company they co-founded more than two decades ago.
“Today, in 2019, if the company was a person, it would be a young adult of 21 and it would be time to leave the roost,” the co-founders shared in a statement. “While it has been a tremendous privilege to be deeply involved in the day-to-day management of the company for so long, we believe it’s time to assume the role of proud parents – offering advice and love, but not daily nagging.
“Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President.”
Longtime executive Pichai, 47, joined Google in 2004 and has previously led Chrome and Android at the company. The executive will take over as Alphabet CEO in addition to his current role effective immediately.
“I’m excited about Alphabet and its long term focus on tackling big challenges through technology,” Pichai shared in a statement. “I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Larry and Sergey in our new rolls.
It’s officially the end of an era at Google. Cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin announced they are stepping down from their leadership roles at the company. Google CEO Sundar Pichai will now additionally take on the role of CEO of Alphabet. https://t.co/0LmwgADUPO
— WIRED (@WIRED) December 4, 2019
“Thanks to them, we have a timeless mission, enduring values, and a culture of collaboration and exploration. It’s a strong foundation on which we will continue to build.”
The co-founders, both 46, will remain actively involved and maintain voting control over the business and will also serve on Alphabet’s board of directors.
While it is a momentous decision in Google’s history as it’s the first time the duo won’t hold leading management roles, they still hold incredible business power. Together they control 51% of voting rights with Alphabet where they can override any decision Pichai makes.
“We are deeply humbled to have seen a small research project develop into a source of knowledge and empowerment for billions – a bet we made as two Stanford students that led to a multitude of other technology bets,” Page and Brin shared online. “We could not have imagined, back in 1998 when we moved our servers from a dorm room to a garage, the journey that would follow.”
The move follows slowing ad revenue in Google’s first quarter of 2019 and mounting scrutiny within the company.
In protest of a US$90 million exit package reportedly paid to Andy Rubin despite a New York Times’ investigation reporting sexual misconduct claims against him were credible, thousands of Google employees globally walked out of the offices last year.
More recently, regulators in the US and Europe have questioned the company’s size, data privacy practices and impact on society while tensions continue to grow among employees.