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Meet the 16 executives in Google CEO Sundar Pichai's trusted inner circle who are leading the company's most critical businesses (GOOG, GOOGL)

Published by Business Insider on Wed, 24 Feb 2021


<p><img src="https://static3.businessinsider.com/image/5ef11ee0988ee359314c9f93-2000/google org chart 2x1.png" border="0" alt="google org chart 2x1" data-mce-source="Google; Ruobing Su/Business Insider"></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>Google's former CEO Larry Page had the "L Team," an inner circle of trusted advisors which he consulted on major company decisions.</p><p>Sundar Pichai's team is called Google Leads, a broader group of 16 executives from across the company's most critical businesses, from search to education.</p><p>The group consists of product leaders as well as some of Pichai's most trusted confidants, some of whom have been with Google from the very early days and are now <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/google-ceo-sundar-pichai-alphabet-brin-page-leadership-style-2020-11">helping the CEO steer the company through a challenging period</a>.</p><p>Based on conversations with sources, Business Insider has identified the 16 names that make up Google Leads.</p><p>The group typically meets once a week, but has been more engaged than usual during the pandemic, insiders say.</p><p>Meet Sundar Pichai's inner circle.</p><h3>Thomas KurianGoogle Cloud CEO</h3><img src="https://static2.businessinsider.com/image/5eefc34eaee6a830ea739383-400-300/thomas-kurian--google-cloud-ceo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Google has set 2023 as the deadline to overtake at least one of its major cloud rivals, <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/google-cloud-thomas-kurian-salespeople-compensation-oracle-sap-2019-8'op=1">Business Insider previously reported</a>, and the pressure is on Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian to deliver. (A Google spokesperson denies the existence of this window: "Reports of these conversations are simply not accurate.")</p><p>The former Oracle executive was named as Google's new Cloud chief in November 2018. "You will see us competing much more aggressively,"<a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/12/google-cloud-ceo-thomas-kurian-google-will-compete-more-aggressively.html"> he said just several weeks into his tenure</a>. And so far, Kurian appears to be delivering on that promise as he pushes Google's enterprise business to catch Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.</p><p>Kurian succeeded Diane Greene, who insiders say had more of an engineering focus, and who <a href="https://www.theinformation.com/articles/behind-google-cloud-chiefs-departure-tensions-with-execs">reportedly</a> left after tensions with other executives.</p><p>"Kurian is a move back to a sales-oriented culture at the top," said one person who worked with both Greene and Kurian. "That will probably help break through in markets that have been historically skeptical of Google within the enterprise."</p><p>Under Kurian, Cloud is targeting more products and services specific to certain industries, and the Cloud chief <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/google-cloud-ceo-thomas-kurian-aws-microsoft-2020-2">said deals over $50 million more than doubled in 2019</a>. Google recently <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/q4-google-cloud-earnings-13-billion-2020-revenue-no-profits-2021-2">began breaking out Cloud earnings</a> as a separate reporting segment &ndash; more evidence of <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/alphabet-earrnings-google-cloud-separate-reporting-segment-2020-10">how important this division</a> is right now.</p><p>Fun fact: Thomas has a twin brother named George, who is the CEO of NetApp.</p></p><br/><br/><h3>Ruth PoratSVP and CFO of Google and Alphabet</h3><img src="https://static6.businessinsider.com/image/5eefc216f34d055bb0258023-400-300/ruth-porat--svp-and-cfo-of-google-and-alphabet.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In 2015, just months before the company morphed into Alphabet, Ruth Porat left financial firm Morgan Stanley to join Google as its new chief financial officer.</p><p>The timing of Porat's arrival was not a coincidence, and since the reorganization she has continued to serve as CFO for both Google and Alphabet, making her one of the most important figures inside the internet company's empire.</p><p>Porat's purview extends to Alphabet's so-called Other Bets &mdash; the hodgepodge of subsidiary businesses focused on autonomous driving, biotech, and drones, among other things &mdash; where she controls the purse strings and headcount of these efforts.&nbsp;</p><p>Porat has introduced more fiscal discipline into the company over the years, and has reigned in some of the company's more indulgent money-bleeding projects. Not to mention that she's carefully guided Google through a pandemic, which proved to be <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/alphabet-google-q2-earnings-revenue-profit-2020-7">a nasty bump</a> for the company's business last summer as digital ad spend plummeted.</p></p><br/><br/><h3>Kent WalkerSVP, global affairs and chief legal officer</h3><img src="https://static1.businessinsider.com/image/5fa083ab69331a0011bc6dc0-400-300/kent-walker--svp-global-affairs-and-chief-legal-officer.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As senior VP for Global Affairs and Google's Chief Legal Officer, Kent Walker is Google's top lawyer.&nbsp;</p><p>Walker advises Google's leadership team on legal and policy issues that involve everything from company acquisitions to antitrust investigations.<a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-08/the-lawyer-behind-google-s-strategy-on-antitrust-china-and-everything"> Bloomberg</a> once called Walker "the most powerful person in tech you've never heard of."&nbsp;</p><p>That might be about to change: Walker, along with a handful of outside lawyers, is now mounting Google's very public defense against <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/google-antitrust-lawsuit-texas-republican-state-attorneys-ad-practices-2020-12">a bombardment of antitrust lawsuits</a>.</p><p>Before joining Google in 2006, the Stanford Law School graduate held top legal roles at eBay and at internet browser pioneer Netscape. In a strange twist of fate, he also did a five-year stint in the US Department of Justice.</p></p><br/><br/><h3>Rick OsterlohSVP, devices and services</h3><img src="https://static6.businessinsider.com/image/5eefc24c2618b95b25768c83-400-300/rick-osterloh--svp-devices-and-services.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For the past few years, Rick Osterloh has been attempting to wrangle Google's various hardware efforts &ndash; phones, laptops, wearables &ndash; into one cohesive vision. No easy task.</p><p>The former president of Motorola Mobility, who Google hired back in 2016 to lead its hardware division, has perhaps most notably helped grow Google's own brand of Pixel smartphones into a household name.</p><p>In 2018, Osterloh also took charge of Nest, once an independent company bought by Google and placed in a silo under Alphabet before it was absorbed back into the Google mothership.</p><p>The pressure is on for Osterloh to<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/googles-hardware-division-needs-work-2020-4"> prove that Google deserves to be taken seriously as a hardware player</a>, but <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/another-key-figure-has-departed-googles-pixel-smartphone-team-2020-5">some notable departures</a> from the team over the last year and an uneven rollout of products suggest the group is still finding its groove.</p><p>Google<a href="https://www.axios.com/scoop-google-readies-its-own-chip-for-future-pixels-chromebooks-e5f8479e-4a38-485c-a264-9ef9cf68908c.html"> is said to be</a> working on its own processors for future Pixel phones and Chromebooks, which would feasibly allow Osterloh and his team to do better and more interesting things with the surrounding hardware.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/another-key-figure-has-departed-googles-pixel-smartphone-team-2020-5">Osterloh's own direct reports</a> include Nest VP Rishi Chandra and Clay Bavor, who oversees Google's virtual and augmented reality products.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p><br/><br/><h3>Prabhakar RaghavanSVP, head of Search and Geo</h3><img src="https://static5.businessinsider.com/image/5ee9910e4dca684c657a57a4-400-300/prabhakar-raghavan--svp-head-of-search-and-geo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Prabhakar Raghavan is Google's new head of Search, following <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/google-promotes-prabhakar-raghavan-to-head-of-search-2020-6">an executive reshuffle</a> earlier last year. Prabhakar previously led Google's ads and commerce team, and before that was in charge of G Suite in Google Cloud.</p><p>Search is Raghavan's bread and butter, but the reorganization puts Raghavan right at the top of the Google money tree, overseeing ads, Geo (which includes Maps and Google Earth), commerce and payments &mdash; and the voice-based Assistant product, too.</p><p>He also has a new team of direct reports, which includes Jerry Dischler, who now leads Google Ads, and new Geo leads Dane Glasgow and Elizabeth Reid.</p><p>Before Google, Raghavan founded Yahoo Labs and led the company's search strategy, not to mention that he's published various books and papers on the subject, including a book co-authored with Rajeev Motwani called "<a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/randomized-algorithms/6A3E5CD760B0DDBA3794A100EE2843E8">Randomized Algorithms</a>."</p><p>Oh, and if you follow him on Twitter, don't expect him to be very active. His Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/wittednote">handle</a> is an anagram for "I don't tweet."</p></p><br/><br/><h3>Hiroshi LockheimerSVP, platforms and ecosystems</h3><img src="https://static5.businessinsider.com/image/5ee9916c3ad86150642bce43-400-300/hiroshi-lockheimer--svp-platforms-and-ecosystems.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A founding member of the Android team, Lockheimer currently oversees Google's range of mobile products including Android, Chrome, Chrome OS, and Play.</p><p>He joined the company in 2006, after Google acquired Android, where he served as executive director and later VP of engineering. In 2015, Google's freshly minted CEO, Sundar Pichai, who once led Chrome and Chrome OS development himself, appointed Lockheimer as SVP of Google's mobile software efforts.</p><p>Insiders have described Lockheimer as having a "quiet strength" about him, calling him a well-respected leader in the company. Pichai's prior history working on Chrome means this is an area the Google chief is particularly close to.</p><p>Lockheimer is also leading the charge on a new OS called Fuchsia, an open-source sort-of-blend of Android and Chrome OS, which remains shrouded in much mystery.</p></p><br/><br/><h3>Susan WojcickiYouTube CEO</h3><img src="https://static4.businessinsider.com/image/5eefc2a92618b95b2e2ab7d4-400-300/susan-wojcicki--youtube-ceo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Susan Wojcicki not only serves as YouTube's CEO, she's also a card-carrying member of the old-school Google club. In fact, it was Wojcicki's garage where Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin built their first office in 1998.</p><p>It was also Wojcicki who proposed Google buy YouTube in 2006, and now 15 years later the founders are surely glad they listened.</p><p>Wojcicki, who studied history and literature at Harvard University, has transformed YouTube into one of Google's biggest success stories.</p><p>And now that the company has started revealing YouTube's revenue, we can see just how successful it is. As YouTube continues to grow and eat up more TV ad spending, <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/why-youtube-was-really-the-big-story-of-googles-earnings-2021-2">analysts highlight it</a> as one of the most exciting parts of the business right now.</p><p>Check out our list of<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/33-insiders-who-wield-the-most-power-at-youtube-2020-4"> the 33 insiders who hold the most power at YouTube</a> for more on the inner workings of Google's video business.</p></p><br/><br/><h3>Lorraine Twohillchief marketing officer</h3><img src="https://static3.businessinsider.com/image/5ee9911f2618b96c6e760b02-400-300/lorraine-twohill--chief-marketing-officer.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Lorraine Twohill joined Google in 2003 as the company's first marketing hire outside of the US, and quickly rose through the ranks to lead the company's marketing division.</p><p>Twohill, who also created Google's in-house advertising agency Creative Lab, has her own wide range of reports across Google products, from Search to Chrome.</p><p>"She's humanized Google with Super Bowl Sunday ads," wrote Business Insider in its list of<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-innovative-chief-marketing-officers-of-2020-6"> the most innovative CMOs of 2020</a>.</p><p>Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Twohill has worked with the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to promote official health information across Google's products.</p></p><br/><br/><h3>Fiona CicconiSVP, people operations & chief people officer</h3><img src="https://static2.businessinsider.com/image/60354c13d920880018591925-400-300/fiona-cicconi--svp-people-operations-and-chief-people-officer.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Fiona Cicconi is Google's new HR chief, and she certainly has her work cut out for her.</p><p>Previously AstraZeneca's chief human resource officer, Cicconi will now oversee Google's sprawling remote workforce, as well as <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-year-rising-tension-inside-google-led-its-first-union-2021-1">rising worker tensions</a>.</p><p>She replaces Eileen Naughton, who announced in early 2020 that she planned to step down before the end of the year. A Google spokesperson confirmed Cicconi reports directly to CEO Pichai.</p><p>The company has seen various flare-ups over the past year, which promise to keep Cicconi's hands full in 2021.</p><p>The year began with hundreds of employees forming <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/google-alphabet-workers-form-union-us-canada-contractors-2021-1">the first Alphabet union</a>, while the ousting of two senior ethical AI leaders <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/google-fires-ai-ethics-researcher-margaret-mitchell-2021-2">continues to cause internal turmoil</a>.</p><p>The company's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion has also been thrown into question in recent months, and promises to be a big point of focus for Cicconi.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p><br/><br/><h3>Ben GomesSVP, learning and education</h3><img src="https://static6.businessinsider.com/image/5ef129e13ad861332a170e86-400-300/ben-gomes--svp-learning-and-education.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Another early member of the company, Ben Gomes joined Google in 1999 where he was tasked with, among other things, scaling Google's 'PageRank' beyond 25 million pages.</p><p>Gomes has been described as Google's search czar. "I think of Ben as our diplomat," Marissa Mayer once said during her Google tenure. However, it wasn't until 2018 that Gomes was appointed head of Google's Search business.</p><p>Recently, Gomes has transitioned to a new role overseeing Google's education and learning products. Gomes is working to tie together the company's various efforts in that space, and has been behind Google's push to build up its Meet and Classroom products through the pandemic.</p><p>"Ben has always had a deep interest in education innovation, and we're excited to see him build on our work here," said CEO Sundar Pichai when announcing Gomes' new role last June.</p><p>Gomes remains a technical advisor on Search, assisting Prabhakar Raghavan, and continues to work closely with Google.org on corporate philanthropy, the company said.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p><br/><br/><h3>Jen FitzpatrickSVP, core and corporate engineering</h3><img src="https://static4.businessinsider.com/image/5eefc2d0f34d055baf0d5ce4-400-300/jen-fitzpatrick--svp-core-and-corporate-engineering.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Jen Fitzpatrick, who joined Google via its internship program in 1999, was one of the first 30 employees at the company. She was also one of Google's first women engineers.</p><p>Fitzpatrick has led teams on Search, Google News, shopping, and AdWords. In 2014, she was appointed VP for Geo, overseeing the entire Google Maps business.</p><p>Last year, Fitzpatrick moved out of Geo to lead the company's core engineering teams, overseeing more than 8,000 employees.</p><p>"Jen's deep product knowledge and experience focusing on important areas such as privacy will set her up well to lead these teams," Pichai wrote in a memo announcing the move in June.</p><p>She continues to report directly to Pichai in her new capacity. Google engineering VP and company veteran Luiz Andr&eacute; Barroso remain working in Core, and now report to Fitzpatrick.</p></p><br/><br/><h3>Jeffrey DeanSenior fellow, SVP of Research and Health</h3><img src="https://static3.businessinsider.com/image/5ee9918e988ee3749d34cb43-400-300/jeffrey-dean--senior-fellow-svp-of-research-and-health.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Jeffrey Dean is a Google Senior Fellow and leads the company's AI division. Another long-time employee, Dean has been with the company since 1999 and has earned a reputation for his exceptional coding talent. He joined Google's X lab in 2011 to work on deep neural networks.</p><p>That eventually led to the creation of Google Brain, the company's research group which lives in the company's wider Research group, which Dean oversees.</p><p>Dean was appointed the head of Google's entire AI division in 2018 during a leadership reshuffle, which spun AI into its own business. Within AI lives <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/the-18-power-players-shaping-googles-burgeoning-healthcare-business-2020-8">Google's Health group</a>, which is using AI to drive many of its projects. David Feinberg, the head of Google Health, reports into Dean.&nbsp;</p><p>"He is a mentor. He cares about people," said one Googler who worked with Dean on several projects.&nbsp;</p><p>During college, Dean worked on the World Health Organization's Global Programme on AIDS, and continues to have a deep interest in the health sector.</p></p><br/><br/><h3>Philipp SchindlerSVP, chief business officer</h3><img src="https://static4.businessinsider.com/image/5eefc380aee6a830ea739384-400-300/philipp-schindler--svp-chief-business-officer.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Google's chief business officer has been extremely busy over the past year, as the company has tried to fend off the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.</p><p>Schindler, who joined Google in 2005, took the role of chief business officer when Google restructured itself under Alphabet in 2015. Not just the face of Google's advertising business, Schindler also weighs in on everything from Google News to the company's moonshots.</p><p>Schindler, who was born in Germany, is a veteran of the early dot-com days, having worked at AOL and CompuServe during the 1990s.</p><p>Expect Schindler to work more closely with Raghavan as he steers Google's search and advertising businesses.</p></p><br/><br/><h3>Corey duBrowaVP, global communications and public affairs</h3><img src="https://static6.businessinsider.com/image/5ef2212719182407df717204-400-300/corey-dubrowa--vp-global-communications-and-public-affairs.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When it comes to Google's communications, the buck stops with Corey duBrowa. After stints shaping the PR strategy for Starbucks and Salesforce, duBrowa joined Alphabet in 2018 to help build the company's brand.</p><p>Corey duBrowa has a direct line to Pichai and wrangles a team of more than 200 staffers. Early on in his Google tenure, duBrowa introduced "objectives and key results" (OKRs) for the company communications team &ndash; something Pichai uses with his own direct reports.</p><p>"For years, Google was data-rich and analysis poor," duBrowa told listeners during an interview at a Holmes Report event last year. "We're in the process of building the kind of analytics engine and team to help us be more precise."&nbsp;</p><p>And if you happen to come across Corey duBrowa's bylines in Rolling Stone and GQ, that's because he was also a music journalist in a past life.</p></p><br/><br/><h3>Ben SmithGoogle fellow</h3><img src="https://static4.businessinsider.com/image/5ef248374dca680da421f4d2-400-300/ben-smith--google-fellow.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Like Jen Fitzpatrick, Ben Smith joined Google in 1999 through the company's internship program. He was so enamored with the company at the time that he left his graduate program to join Google's Search efforts full-time &mdash; and has remained with Google ever since.</p><p>Smith is a member of the old guard, and a technical advisor to the office of the CEO. While he's less in the public eye than other members of Pichai's squad, you might spot his name attached to the occasional company blog post.</p></p><br/><br/><h3>Tom OliveriVP, CEO team</h3><img src="https://static2.businessinsider.com/image/5ef21c9caee6a8651041a625-400-300/tom-oliveri--vp-ceo-team.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Tom Oliveri joined Google in 2005 where he worked on Google's first payment service, before transitioning to lead marketing for various Google products, eventually overseeing marketing for Chrome and Android in a VP role.</p><p>Oliveri is currently a VP of the CEO team and, insiders say, a particularly close confidant of Pichai's. Oliveri's reports include Jeff Markowitz, who joined Google as a leadership advisor in 2019.</p></p><br/><br/>
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