Among those named on the annual Padma honour list is Sundararajan Pichai the CEO of Alphabet Inc — the world’s fourth most valuable company — which has a subsidiary called Google Inc. Pichai who grew up and studied in Ashok Nagar area of Chennai eventually did his metallurgical engineering from IIT Khargapur, apart from a master’s in Stanford and an MBA from Wharton.

He worked with Applied Materials and consulting company McKinsey before joining a then-nascent and lesser-known company that was creating a lot of buzz called Google. He joined them on April Fool’s day in 2004, the same day the company launched Gmail.

One of his very early successes as a leader was when he led product development and innovation of the Google Chrome browser. This was when Microsoft’s Internet Explorer had a market share of 95 per cent in 2004 which was also its peak. Today, Chrome has a 65 per cent global market share.

It is not just Chrome browser and Chrome OS apart from Google Drive but his leadership in the development and innovation of Android after the departure of Andy Rubin also cemented his reputation. This also ensured his rapid growth at Google. Just a year after, there was speculation in media that he was the top contender to become the CEO of Microsoft in 2014. Pichai was eventually named as the CEO of Google in August 2015 after the company’s co-founder Larry Page moved away to head the then newly formed holding company Alphabet Inc.

Under Pichai’s watch, Google has more than tripled its market capitalization to $1.7 trillion. In 2019, he also took over as the CEO of Alphabet. He is seen as a consensual non-controversial leader who has ensured that Google continues to be a money-spinning cash machine with its core search franchise, even as it has quietly consolidated leadership in several areas of business adjacencies like cloud, AI and others.

Pichai, an avid football and cricket fan, is married to his IIT-K classmate named Anjali and has two children, Kiran and Kavya. In 2019, Google had disclosed in filings that it had paid compensation of $281 million to Pichai including stocks. His net worth is estimated to be more than $1.3 billion.