Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai© GettyImages

HELLO! 100 Most Influential: Sundar Pichai

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Gayatri Rangachari Singh

Why he matters: The game-changing visionary who’s transforming a simple search engine into a colloquial verb—and a multi-billion dollar business.

For someone who didn’t havea telephone at home tillthe age of 10, who grew up with one channel on television and had no access to a computer till he graduated from college in the US, Sundar Pichai’s tech journey is nothing short of miraculous.

As CEO of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, Pichai is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most influential people because of the reach and power of the behemoth he leads. If you’re a regular user of Google Drive or Chrome, Pichai is the man to thank. Google is the world’s most popular internet search engine, and its suite of software, including its Android operating system, is used in over 2.5 billion devices. His position puts him among the highest-paid corporate leaders in the world—with a take-home pay of almost a quarter of a billion dollars!

A former McKinsey consultant, he has held the top job at Google since 2015 and received India’s third highest civilian honour, the Padma Bhushan, last year. The 51-year-old was born in Madurai and studied at IIT Madras, followed by Stanford University on a scholarship. Now a billionaire, Pichai has stated that his father spent a year’s salary to buy his flight ticket to the United States for his education.

At the forefront of 21st-Century technology today, when Pichai speaks, governments and businesses listen. A father of two, the soft spoken, low-profile corporate leader has been instrumental in steering Google into a juggernaut. And for Indians across the globe, he’s the poster child of what a hard-working immigrant can achieve.

To see who else is on the list, grab the copy of HELLO! India’s August 2023 issue right here!