The co-founders of Google are stepping down as executives of its parent company, Alphabet, ending a remarkable two decades during which Larry Page and Sergey Brin shaped a startup born in a Silicon Valley garage into one of the world's largest, most powerful—and, increasingly, most feared—firms in the world. Sundar Pichai, who has been leading Google as CEO for more than four years, will stay in his role and also become CEO of Alphabet, the AP reports. Page was Alphabet’s CEO, while Brin was its president. The president’s role at Alphabet is not being filled. Both founders promised they plan to stay actively involved as board members and shareholders, and lauded Pichai for his leadership of the company. Page and Brin both have been noticeably absent from Google events in the past year.
Both stopped making appearances at the weekly question-and-answer sessions with employees, and Page didn't attend this summer's Alphabet shareholders meeting even though he was still in the CEO role. Alphabet—an umbrella corporation that the two created in 2015—still boasts Google as its central fixture and key moneymaker. But it's also made up of what are known as "other bets," or longshot projects. That includes drone company Wing and self-driving car firm Waymo. Alphabet has been positioning Pichai as the de facto leader for quite some time—making him the top executive voice at shareholders meetings, on earnings calls, and as a spokesman at congressional hearings. Page and Brin announced the news in a blog post Tuesday, saying the company has "evolved and matured" in the two decades since its founding. (See more here.)