Google's Page puts Android chief Pichai in charge of products

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) CEO Larry Page is giving the company's Android boss, Sundar Pichai, responsibility for the search giant's biggest products.

company's Android boss, Sundar Pichai

Pichai

Pichai, who has been Google's senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps, will now oversee Google products such as search, maps, Google+, commerce, research, advertising and infrastructure, a Google spokesman confirmed to Reuters. According to Re/code, which first reported the news based on an internal Google memo, the six executives in charge of those product areas, who had all previously reported directly to Page, will now report to Pichai.

According to the Re/code report, which also cited unnamed sources familiar with the changes, Page wrote in the memo that the move will speed up decision making and help him focus his attention on existing and new products. Page will continue to oversee Google's business and operations, including its efforts in access and energy, Nest for smart home, Google X for researching new products, Calico for biotech research, corporate development, legal and finance.

The Re/code report added that Page has said in staff meetings that he wants to focus on the "bigger picture" and is unable to do that with so many executives reporting directly to him.

For Pichai the added responsibilities represent a significant promotion. Pichai has now ascended to be one of Page's top lieutenants, which speaks to Page's confidence in Pichai and the way he has run Android and managed other products.

The Indian-born Pichai joined Google in 2004 and until a few years ago had been managing Chrome, Google's web browser and web-based operating system. Then in March 2012 Pichai added apps to his portfolio when Google Apps chief Dave Girouard left the company. When longtime Android boss Andy Rubin stepped away from those duties in March 2013, Pichai took over responsibility for Android, which has maintained its position as the world's most popular mobile platform.

Both Re/code  and the Wall Street Journal reported that Page wants to keep Google innovating and has had concerns about the pace of the company's new product development as the company has grown in scale and scope. "This plays to the strengths of Sundar and Larry. Sundar is a proven product guy and Larry is a visionary," one source told the WSJ.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Re/code article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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