The era ends when Page visionary and Brin math prodigy leave Alphabet

SAN FRANCISCO: Larry page and Sergey Brin , the Stanford graduate students who founded Google over two decades ago, are stepping down from executive roles at Google’s parent company, Alphabet, they announced on Tuesday.

Sundar Pichai, Google ’s chief executive, will become the chief of both Google and Alphabet. The move is an end of an era for Google . Page and Brin have personified the company since its founding and have been two of the technology industry’s most influential figures, on a par with the founders of Apple and Microsoft, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

Their early work on the Google search engine helped corral an unruly cloud of information on the World Wide Web. And their ideas about how to run an internet company — like offering generous employee perks like free shuttle buses to the office and making rankand-file employees feel as though they have a stake in the company — became a standard for Silicon Valley.

Page is the son of academics from Michigan, while Brin’s family emigrated to Maryland from the Soviet Union when he was a child and he considers himself a refugee. They met at Stanford, where in 1996 they came up with the invention that spawned Google . Page was the visionary while Brin, a math prodigy, led the engineering.

Page and Brin took lesser roles in day-to-day operations in 2015 when they turned Google into Alphabet, a holding company that includes the self-driving car company Waymo under its umbrella.

Since then, they have spent more time overseeing a variety of so-called other bets, like life-extension technology, while Pichai ran Google and its enormous search and advertising business. Brin moved his desk for a time to X, the so-called moonshot lab where engineers worked on projects that were likely to fail — but had big potential if they didn’t. Page was rarely a presence on Google ’s campus and was working on long-shot technology problems and personal side projects like his flying-car startup, Kitty Hawk. The business has continued to grow and Alphabet is among the most valuable companies in the world, but the internet giant is entering one of the most turbulent periods in its history, with antitrust scrutiny, employee walkouts and growing public scepticism of its power.

Page and Brin, who are both 46, will remain directors on Alphabet’s board and the company’s two largest individual shareholders. They retain a majority of the company’s voting shares, which will give them effective control over the board and ensure they maintain a say over the company’s future.