This morning, Indians woke up to the news of Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepping down from active management of Google-parent Alphabet. Both Larry Page and Sergey Brin took over the management responsibility at Alphabet in 2015 and appointing India-born Sundar Pichai as the chief executive officer of Google.
Now that both Larry Page and Sergey Brin have stepped down as Alphabet's CEO and President, respectively, Sundar Pichai has been promoted as the CEO of Alphabet. As we mentioned in our previous story, this is undoubtedly one of the greatest achievements for Pichai, but it's also a huge responsibility that he now has to perform.
Although both Page and Brin will remain on the board of directors of the company, their decision to step down from their respective roles raises a lot of questions. The big question remains: Why the duo decided to step down from their management roles at the company they founded 21 years ago? Let's try to find out.
In the blog post, Google co-founders suggested their idea about simplifying Alphabet's management structure by having one CEO of both Google and Alphabet.
"With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure. We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President, Google co-founders said in their official blog post."
They added: "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!"
However, restructuring of the company management comes at a time when Google is facing mounting scrutiny over its size, data privacy practices and potential impact on society. So is there something else?
Of late, both state and federal regulators are taking a keen interest in possible abuse of privacy practices of Google as well as the company's anti-competitive market dominance.
Google has been facing increasing criticism and investigations from authorities in the U.S. and Europe about its privacy policies and nature of its many-legged business. Now that both Larry Page and Sergey Brin have relinquished their management roles, all the pressure and responsibility will fall to Pichai to wrangle and push through. It's been quite some time since both the co-founders have noticeably backed out of the spotlight already.
Both stopped making appearances earlier this year at the regular question-and-answer sessions with employees, and Page didn’t attend this summer’s Alphabet shareholders meeting even though he was still in the CEO role.
Last year, Google raised hackles in Congress by refusing to send Page or Pichai to a hearing on Russian manipulation of internet services to sway U.S. elections. Congressional officials left an empty chair for Page at the witness table; top executives from Facebook and Twitter, meanwhile, turned up to testify. Offended lawmakers expressed contempt for Google as "arrogant."
Meanwhile, Google has also been facing pressure from privacy advocates over its collection and use of personal information to target advertising. Google is also facing allegations that the company abuses its dominance in search and online advertising to push out rivals.
(With agency inputs)