Sundar Pichai is the new CEO of Google as the company undergoes a huge restructuring. Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are moving to a new company called Alphabet -- which has a superb URL -- which will serve as an umbrella company for Google and its various projects.
Google itself is being, in Page's words, "slimmed down" and the change is quite an extraordinary one. Page quotes the original founders' letter that was written 11 years go. It states that "Google is not a conventional company", and today's announcement makes that perfectly clear. There's a lot to take in...
Alphabet is, essentially, the new face of Google. Page chose to make the announcement in a blog post that went live after the stock markets closed. This is more than just a rebranding, it is a complete shakeup, the scale of which is almost unprecedented. Alphabet has Page as CEO, assisted by Sergey Brin in the role of president. Putting Pichai at the head of Google is part of improving the focus of the company.
Introducing the new company, Page said:
What is Alphabet? Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main internet products contained in Alphabet instead. What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose-sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity). Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related.
He went on to explain that existing Google shares would be converted into Alphabet shares as Google becomes a wholly-own subsidiary of the new company. Two classes of shares will trade on Nasdaq as GOOGL and GOOG.
The new name is going to be hard for some to swallow. Even Page says:
Don’t worry, we’re still getting used to the name too!