In a big honour for the top India-origin tech prowess that has virtually taken over the Silicon Valley in the US, the Indian government on Tuesday awarded Padma Bhushan to Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella and Alphabet and Google’s Sundar Pichai among the 17 awardees.
Padma Bhushan is the third-highest civilian award in the country, after Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan.
Born on June 10, 1972 in Madras (now Chennai), Pichai Sundararajan — better known as Sundar Pichai — earned his degree from IIT Kharagpur in metallurgical engineering.
Moving to the US, he earned an MS from Stanford University in materials science and engineering and further earned an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Pichai began his career as a materials engineer. After a short stint at the management consulting firm McKinsey & Co, he joined Google in 2004, and the rest is history.
Pichai was picked up as the next CEO of Google on August 10, 2015, after previously being appointed Product Chief by CEO Larry Page. He was appointed to the Alphabet Board of Directors in 2017.
He was included in Time’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in 2016 and 2020.
Pichai is married to Anjali Pichai and has two children. His recreational interests include cricket and football.
On the other hand, Satya Narayana Nadella was born on August 17, 1967 in Hyderabad (present-day Telangana).
His mother Prabhavati was a Sanskrit lecturer, and his father, Bukkapuram Nadella Yugandhar, was an IAS officer of the 1962 batch.
Nadella studied at the Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet, before receiving a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from the Manipal Institute of Technology in Karnataka in 1988.
He then moved to the US to study for an MS in computer science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, earning the degree in 1990.
Later, he received an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 1997.
He is currently the Executive Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, succeeding Steve Ballmer in 2014 as CEO and John W. Thompson in 2021 as Chairman.
Before becoming the CEO, he was the Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group, responsible for building and running the company’s computing platforms.