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Sundar Pichai faces internal criticism on Google

Oakland, CA — The seeds of corporate collapse, often referred to in the business world, are sown when everything is going well.

It’s hard to claim that things go wrong Google..Revenue and profit New high price chart Every 3 months. Google’s parent company Alphabet is worth $ 1.6 trillion. Google has become more and more deeply rooted in everyday American life.

But the restless class of Google executives is worried that the company is showing cracks.They have a Google workforce More and more frank..Personnel issues Spill to the public.. Definitive leadership and big ideas have given way to risk aversion and gradualism. And some of those executives are gone, letting everyone know exactly why.

“I keep being asked why I left now. I think the better question is why I stayed so long.” He joined Google when the company acquired the mapping service Waze in 2013. NoamBardin writes: Blog post It’s been two weeks since I left the company in February.

“The challenge of innovation only gets worse as risk tolerance goes down,” he writes.

Many of Google’s problems, according to current and recently resigned executives, The company’s friendly and unobtrusive CEO, Sundar Pichai..

Fifteen current and former Google executives speaking anonymously for fear of offending Google and Pichai told The New York Times that Google is suffering from many of the pitfalls of a large, mature company. Towards paralyzed bureaucracy, neglect of prejudice and adherence to public perception.

An executive who interacts with Pichai on a regular basis said Google did not act swiftly on major business or personnel changes because it grabbed decisions and delayed action. They said Google continued to be shaken by the fight for work culture, and Mr Pichai’s attempts to cool the temperature had the opposite effect.

A Google spokesman said the internal investigation into Mr Pichai’s leadership was positive. The company refused to ask Pichai, 49, for comment, but arranged interviews with nine current and former executives to take a different view of his leadership.

“Will I be happier if he makes a decision sooner? Yes,” said Caesar Sengputa, a former vice president who worked closely with Pichai for 15 years at Google. .. He left in March. “But are you happy that he made almost all the decisions right? Yes.”

Google is facing a dangerous moment. We are fighting regulatory challenges at home and abroad.Left and right politicians united and distrusted the company, Mr. Pichai Parliamentary hearing equipment.. Even his critics say he has succeeded in navigating those hearings without ever disturbing lawmakers’ wings or offering more ammunition to his company’s enemies. I will.

Google executives complaining about Pichai’s leadership acknowledged it, saying he is a thoughtful and compassionate leader. They say Google is more disciplined and organized these days — a company that is bigger and more professionally run than the company Pichai inherited six years ago.

While leading Google, the number of employees doubled to about 140,000 and the value of Alphabet tripled. It’s not uncommon for a very large growth company to appear unwilling to endanger or stagnate what has made it so wealthy. Pichai has taken some steps to counter it. For example, in 2019, he reorganized Google and created a new decision-making body, reducing the number of decisions that need approval.

Still, Google, founded in 1998, suffers from the perception that the best days are behind. In Silicon Valley, where recruitment and retention act as a referendum on corporate outlook, Google executives are asking executives from other tech companies to give up stable seven-digit salaries for opportunities elsewhere. Said it was easier than ever to convince.

Former McKinsey consultant Pichai joined Google in 2004 and quickly showed tips for navigating a company full of big ego and sharp elbows.

When Google became part of Alphabet in 2015, Pichai became Google’s CEO. When Google co-founder Larry Page resigned from Alphabet’s boss four years later, he was promoted to oversee the parent company again.

In 2018, more than 12 vice presidents of Google tried to email Pichai to warn him that the company was in serious pain. They said they had problems coordinating technical decisions and feedback from the vice president was often ignored.

According to five people who know the email, executives (many of whom spent more than a decade at the company) took too long for Google to make big decisions, making it difficult to accomplish anything. I wrote that. Although not directly critical of Mr Pichai, they said the message was clear: Google needed more decisive leadership at the top.

Since then, some of the executives who signed the email have resigned to work elsewhere. At least 36 Google vice presidents have left the company since last year, according to their LinkedIn profile.

This is the brain drain of the vice president, who has a total of about 400 managers and serves as the backbone of company-wide leadership. Google said it was happy with the vice president’s turnover, which has been stable for the past five years.

A common criticism between current and former executives is that Pichai’s slow deliberations often feel like a way to play it safely and reach a “no.”

Google executives have proposed the idea of ​​buying Shopify. Challenge Amazon with Online Commerce years ago. Pichai rejected the idea because he thought Shopify was too expensive, two people familiar with the discussion said.

But those people didn’t think Mr Pichai was angry with the deal, and said the price was convenient and ultimately a false justification. Shopify’s share price has risen almost 10-fold in the last few years. “There was no serious discussion about the acquisition,” said Jason Post, a Google spokesman.

One former executive said the company’s risk aversion was embodied by a state of permanent research and development known internally as “pantry mode.” The team hides the product in case a rival creates something new and Google needs to respond quickly.

Pichai is also known for slowing down personnel decisions. When Google promoted Kent Walker to Senior Vice President of Global Affairs in 2018, the company began searching for a lawyer to replace him. Google took over a year To choose Halimah DeLaine Prado, A longtime representative of the company’s legal team.

Prado was at the top of the first list of candidates offered to Pichai, who asked to see more names, some people familiar with the search said. A thorough search took a lot of time and became a joke among the head hunters in the industry.

It was notable that Mr Pichai was reluctant to take decisive steps against Google’s volatile workforce.

In December, Timnit Gebru, co-leader of Google’s ethics AI team and one of the most well-known black women employees, criticized Google’s approach to minority employment and criticized the bias embedded in artificial intelligence. He said he was fired after writing a research paper to emphasize. Technology. Initially, Mr Pichai was not involved in the conflict.

Pichai sent an email after 2,000 employees signed a petition protesting her dismissal I swear to regain the lost trustWhile continuing to push Google’s view that Dr. Gebble was not fired. But that didn’t go as far as an apology, she said, and came across as a public relations overrun on some employees.

David Baker, a former engineering director of Google’s Trust and Safety Group, who resigned in protest of Dr. Gebble’s dismissal, said Google should admit that he made a mistake rather than trying to save his face. It was.

“Google’s lack of courage on the issue of diversity ultimately evaporated my passion for work,” said Baker, who worked for the company for 16 years. “The more financially safe Google is, the more risk averse it becomes.”

Some criticisms of Pichai may have come from the challenge of maintaining Google’s candid culture in a much larger workforce than ever before, Google executives told the Times. Said.

“I don’t think anyone else can manage these issues as much as Sundar,” said Luiz Barroso, one of the company’s chief technology officers.

Pichai emphasized that he did not behave like the “Messiah” in the corner office. This is often a romantic in the tech industry, but a bigger dictatorial boss who can create a toxic workplace. Vice President of Google before leaving in April to oversee product development on the Robinhood trading app.

Pichai also made difficult and unpopular decisions, such as reducing “vanity projects” that weren’t very useful to the business, Cenna Pragada said.

According to Google executives, Pichai’s focus on management rather than ego allowed his agent to make more decisions without him. But perhaps most importantly, he was particularly decisive when instructing employees to start working from home, as the coronavirus pandemic began to spread in the United States.

Discussion to Get the activity tracker FitbitGoogle’s vice president, Samir Samat, said it took about a year to close in January as Pichai worked on aspects of the transaction, including how the company was integrated, product planning, and how user data was protected. Stated. Mr. Samat, who was driving the deal, said he had identified a potential issue that Pichai had not fully considered.

“I was able to see how these multiple discussions could make someone feel that we were slow to make a decision,” Samat said. “In reality, these are very big decisions.”

Sundar Pichai faces internal criticism on Google

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