Google CEO Sundar Pichai will be taking over as chief executive of parent company Alphabet in addition to his current role after Alphabet CEO Larry Page announced he was stepping down from the role on Tuesday afternoon.
Page, alongside Sergey Brin, co-founded the tech giant in 1998. In the same letter announcing Page’s decision, Brin also said he will be resigning as president of 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,” Page and Brin said in a blog post.
“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’s stock price increased by about 1% to $1,304 per share in after-hours trading on Tuesday.
Page became chief executive of Alphabet in 2015 after Google reorganized. The company, best known for its dominance of online search, has widened its portfolio in the two decades since its founding, which now includes YouTube, Maps, and Android among other businesses. The decision aimed to let Alphabet focus on the tech giant’s “other bets,” while allowing Google to focus on its core business.
Pichai has been with Google since 2004 and has been its CEO since the 2015 reorganization. Pichai has been, alongside Page, running Google at a time when the company has experienced tremendous growth but also been criticized on several fronts. Last year, Google employees staged a global walkout to boycott the company’s handling of sexual harassment accusations, and the company has faced increasing scrutiny this year over its facial recognition technology and how it impacts privacy. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, among other prominent politicians and pundits, has also called for breaking up Google and other tech giants, saying their dominance makes it next to impossible for true competitors to rise up.
Page and Brin did not allude to any concerns about Alphabet’s longterm future in the blog post, however.
“Creativity and challenge remain as ever-present as before, if not more so, and are increasingly applied to a variety of fields such as machine learning, energy efficiency and transportation. Nonetheless, Google’s core service–providing unbiased, accurate, and free access to information–remains at the heart of the company,” they said.
Page and Brin will retain controlling voting shares of Alphabet, according to CNBC, with Page owning about 5.8% of all Alphabet shares, while Brin holds 5.6% of them.