When Sundar Pichai joined Google in 2004, he was only a hard-working employee who wanted to add value to the company and perhaps never imagined that he would someday become one of the highest-paid chief executives in the country. An engineering whizz, the Indian-born Pichai joined Google as part of a small team but ambitiously exceeded expectations when he masterminded the phenomenal launch of Google’s web browser, Chrome, in 2008, shocking his co-workers, superiors, and millions of web surfers across the globe. This feat undoubtedly saw Sundar Pichai’s net worth hit the rooftop.
Today, he is the CEO of Google and receives an annual salary that is more than double that of the average employee at Google. Besides his annual compensation, Pichai’s stock awards in Alphabet Inc. have been so overwhelmingly huge that he has turned down new stock options offered to him by the company.
How Sundar Pichai Emerged as an Engineering Whiz in His Native India
Sundar Pichai’s net worth may be nearly a billion dollars, but the tech guru came from humble beginnings. An Indian gentleman born on July 12, 1972, Pichai Sundararajan is the son of an electrical engineer and a stenographer. Sundar and his brother had a decent upbringing in their Asian home country – India. He was a hardworking student right from his high school days at Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan. He continued with his excellent academic records at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, where he studied Metallurgical Engineering.
Sundar later bagged a scholarship to Stanford University, where he earned his postgraduate degree in materials science and semiconductor physics. The scholarly gentleman would have taken his academic pursuits to the Ph.D. level at Stanford but eventually decided against it to focus on building his career. Years later, in 2002, Sundar Pichai returned to the classroom to bag an MBA from UPenn’s Wharton School.
Developing Chrome and Other Feats That Helped Him Land the Google CEO Job
Sundar Pichai has been with Google for more than a decade. He joined the search giant in 2004 as part of a small team that worked on its toolbar, as well as other innovative products and services. It was while working on Google’s toolbar that Pichai saw the big picture and birthed the seed of what is today known as the popular Google Chrome browser. When Pichai conceived the idea of the search giant’s browser, the concept did not sit well with the executive team at the time because they felt it was a risky venture for the company. But an ambitious Pichai would later prove naysayers wrong when Google’s web browser was launched to critical acclaim in 2008.
Although browsers have been in existence from the beginning of the internet, Chrome has phenomenally become one of the fastest and most efficient browsers of this era for most web surfers. This success predictably increased Sundar Pichai’s profile within Google, and he was immediately promoted to the position of vice president of product marketing. In this role, the Indian-American oversaw the development and launch of other innovative products, including Gmail, Google Maps, and the Android System. He was consequently made product chief over Google and Android Operating System in 2014.
Pichai held this position for about a year before Google co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin announced their decision to restructure the organization and place it under the control of a holding company, Alphabet Inc. in 2015. Following the move, the duo naturally appointed the excellent Pinchai to the role of CEO of Google in 2015, and he has been at that position to date. In 2019, he also became the CEO of Alphabet following the retirement of Larry Page. As CEO of both companies, Sundar Pichai has so far done a good job of steadying the ship and taking the company to new heights.
He Earned $1.2 Million Per Day As Google CEO in 2018
Like most tech executives (think Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey), Sundar Pichai receives hefty pay-outs each year. Even before he became the CEO of the Mountain View-based search giants, the Indian-native had been making huge salaries, in addition to other perks in several important positions he has held. For instance, he was awarded a stock option worth $250 million back in the year 2014.
Following his substantive appointment as the CEO of Google in 2015, Pinchai received an annual salary package worth $650,000 and a personal security budget of $1.2 million. He also gained improved stock options in the company to the tune of $300 million. This arrangement stayed in place for the next three years, and in 2018, the engineer was given another bunch of stock options. He, however, turned it down as he felt he was already paid generously.
Given his stock portfolio and actual salaries, Sundar Pinchai earns hundreds of millions of dollars each year. For instance, in the year 2018 alone, he made a whopping $470 million. Some numbers-crunching will reveal that he made $1.287 million per day and $225,961 per hour (based on a 40-hour workweek). This figure is well above the national American average, which is a mere $22.50 per hour.
Assuming Leadership of Alphabet and Gaining Additional Millions
Sundar Pichai’s net worth is guaranteed to grow in the nearest future, and this is due to his latest appointment. Following his continued achievements at Google, its co-founder, Larry Page, had no difficulty choosing Pinchai as the CEO of Alphabet upon his retirement in December 2019. This new role means increased visibility and responsibilities for the Indian native. It also means increased compensation as he is set to receive an annual salary of $2 million starting from 2020.
Pichai will also receive $240 million worth of stocks (Google stocks are presently worth $1,412 per share as of June 2020) if he reaches certain targets, as well as an additional $90 million in stocks if the company’s shares outperform the S&P share index. It, therefore, means that Pinchai will earn much more than the $470 million and the $1.287 million daily he made in 2018.
Meanwhile, this improved pay has not gone down well in some quarters as some Google employees argue that they make barely enough to be able to afford the astronomical rent in the Silicon Valley area. Some of them are also not happy with the way Pinchai and his management team have handled internal issues in the company. In the recent past, the staff has protested against pay equity and sexual harassment, and instead of addressing this, the management has tried to quell the uprising by retaliating and firing the leaders. Therefore, even though Sundar Pinchai stands to make much more from his new role, he does have a large amount of work cut out for him to do.
Is the Google CEO a Billionaire?
Despite his jaw-dropping pay package at Google and Alphabet Inc., Sundar Pichai’s net worth is not in the billionaire’s range, at least, not yet. The computer scientist has a fortune that presently hovers at around $900 million and will need to wait for some months, at least for his joint Google and Alphabet salary to kick in before he will join the billionaires club at Google.
Other people who already belong to this exclusive main club presently are the company’s original co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Page has a net worth of $64.9 billion, while Brin is worth about $63.4 billion. The duo earned their massive wealth from their ownership stake of the tech giant, Alphabet Inc., which is put at 6% combined.