Sundar Pichai’s job wasn’t particularly easy before Covid-19. The 47-year-old CEO of Google and its parent company Alphabet (he assumed the latter post from cofounder Larry Page in December 2019) was already dealing with antitrust allegations, employee unrest, and a feeling that, as a trillion-dollar behemoth dominating global search and advertising, the company’s mojo as a charming innovator was fading. But one can argue that despite the challenges of a work-from-home company, Google is managing through the crisis, as users turn to its services (maybe not Maps) even more. It has even used the opportunity to collaborate with key rival Apple on contact tracing technology. Pichai is already looking ahead, knowing that post-Covid, the world will change. But the pre-virus challenges will still be with him.
Pichai has been reflective lately, while preparing his commencement speech for a June 6 “Dear Class of 2020” YouTube event. (He’ll be speaking in