Google’s Founders Step Aside as Sundar Pichai Takes Over Alphabet

SAN FRANCISCO — Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the two Stanford University graduate students who founded Google more than two decades ago, said they were stepping down from executive roles at Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, will become the chief of both Google and Alphabet.

Mr. Page and Mr. Brin will remain directors on Alphabet’s board and the company’s two largest individual shareholders. Indeed, the men hold a majority of the company’s voting shares.

The move nevertheless signals an end of an era for Google. The two men have personified the company for more than 20 years, though they took a lesser role in day-to-day operations in 2015 when they turned Google into Alphabet, a holding company that also includes the self-driving car company Waymo among its pieces.

Since then, they have spent more time overseeing a variety of so-called other bets, like life-extension technology, while Mr. Pichai ran Google and its enormous search and advertising business.

“Today, in 2019, if the company was a person, it would be a young adult of 21 and it would be time to leave the roost,” the founders wrote in a public letter on Tuesday. “While it has been a tremendous privilege to be deeply involved in the day-to-day management of the company for so long, we believe it’s time to assume the role of proud parents — offering advice and love, but not daily nagging!”

The move also confirms the ascendancy of Mr. Pichai as one of tech’s most powerful people. While he has run the core Google business for four years, he still reported to Mr. Page, Alphabet’s chief executive, and Mr. Brin, its president.

Now he is the sole executive in charge of a company that has giant businesses in search, advertising, maps, smartphone software and online video, as well as a variety of fledgling bets in far-off areas like drone deliveries and internet-beaming balloons.

This is a developing story. It will be updated.

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