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Google CEO Sundar Pichai is a strategist who loves challenges, say former schoolmates

The biggest news of the day is Sundar Pichai being appointed as CEO of Google, one of the top technology companies in the world. Sundar Pichai did his schooling in Chennai and his alma mater Vanavani Matriculation Higher Secondary School couldn’t be prouder of him.

During the school assembly at Vanavani today, the proud principal Kaveri Padmanabhan shared Sundar Pichai’s stellar achievement with the students. “We are absolutely proud of what Sundar Pichai, a Vanavanian, has achieved,” says an elated Padmanabhan. “It is indeed very inspiring for all our students,” she added. Now, Vanavani hopes that Pichai will make a visit at some point to the school, which will be another proud moment for them.

Entrepreneur Murugavel Selvam, who was Pichai’s senior in school, recalls, “We all knew him to be a shy but hardworking boy. Pichai’s dad was also an engineer. He hails from middle class background. I think he learnt a lot from his father.”

Vanavani Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Google, Sundar Pichai

Vanavani Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Google, Sundar Pichai

Another schoolmate of his, Pattu Subramanian, head of logistics at the BMW plant in Chennai, says, “I remember him as ever-smiling, quiet and mostly bookish. He seemed to be focused on his career. Since Vanavani is in the IIT campus, the goal for most students was to end up in one of the IITs and we always thought he would go to IIT. Those into computers would try for Kanpur or Kharagpur and Pichai got into Kharagpur.”

As for Pichai’s rise to the top as CEO of Google, Selvam says that they have been diligently following his career graph. “Pichai has had a meteoric rise and it makes us all very proud. It’s very inspiring as well. I’m sure the staff and students of our school are elated!” he says.

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