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MARKETANALYST.US / ECONOMY & WORK

Sundar Pichai Nears Billionaire Status Amid Job Cuts At Google

CEO Pichai had identified “durable cost savings” as one of the tech giant’s key goals for 2024.
PUBLISHED MAY 3, 2024
 Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai | Getty Images | Photo by Drew Angerer
Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai | Getty Images | Photo by Drew Angerer

Gooogle and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai is inching closer to the billionaire club. With fresh cash injection to the company’s AI tech, and Google’s stock reaching a new record high, Pichai’s net worth has surged to nearly a billion dollars, as per Bloomberg. Furthermore, with stock options, the CEO’s compensation has also reached new heights of over $200 million. Meanwhile, Google has continued to further its cost-cutting campaign with layoffs happening across the board.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai delivers the keynote address at the Google I/O 2018 | Getty Images | Photo by Justin Sullivan
Google CEO Sundar Pichai delivers the keynote address at the Google I/O 2018 | Getty Images | Photo by Justin Sullivan

Pichai's rise in Google has been astonishing. He had a humble upbringing in Chennai, India, where he grew up in a two-room apartment. He won scholarships to Stanford and Wharton after which he joined Google in 2004. He led important projects, including the launch of Google Chrome and in 2015, when co-founder Larry Page became the CEO role of the parent company Alphabet, Pichai was promoted to CEO of Google.

By 2019, Pichai was named the CEO of Alphabet. Google’s stock had jumped over 400 percent under his leadership. Thanks to stock options in the same year, he became one of the highest-paid executives in the world. By 2022, his pay package soared to $226 million, boosted by a triennial stock grant, Bloomberg reported.

Meanwhile, his salary had remained steady at $2 million for the past three years.



Cut to 2024, Google’s stock hit a fresh record on Friday after the company’s first-quarter earnings beat expectations. The stock rally and hefty stock options made Pichai one of the world’s highest-paid executives, boosting his fortune to nearly $1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.



After laying off 12,000 people in January last year, in January 2024, CEO Pichai identified “durable cost savings” as one of the tech giant’s key goals for the year. "The reality is that to create the capacity for this investment, we have to make tough choices,” Pichai told Google staff in a memo, teasing more job cuts, as per The Verge.



Earlier this year, Google confirmed to cut several hundred roles in its ad sales team and more than 1,000 combined workers in other units, including its core engineering team and the hardware division, as per the New York Post.

Last month, Google commenced another round of layoffs. Per CNBC, the tech giant laid off at least 200 people ahead of an April 25 quarterly earnings call. Prior reports indicated that many of the eliminated American roles were being replaced with cheaper international labor.

Meanwhile, another top goal on Google’s list was to “deliver the world’s most advanced, safe, and responsible AI,” as per the memo. However, Google’s AI project, ‘Gemini’ (formerly BARD) faced allegations of being “anti-white”. After Gemini’s historically inaccurate images went viral on social media, the image generation feature was briefly suspended.



At the time, Pichai said Google was working round the clock to fix the problems. He also called some of the image responses "biased" and "completely unacceptable,” in an internal memo to employees, Semafor reported.

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