Sundar Pichai lacks visionary: Ex-Google Employee

Ex-Google Employee Criticizes Sundar Pichai’s Leadership

In a striking turn of events, Ian Hickson, a former Google employee with an 18-year tenure at the tech giant, has publicly criticized CEO Sundar Pichai. Hickson’s resignation and subsequent blog post have sparked discussions about the leadership and culture at Google, one of the world’s most influential tech companies.

The Critique of Sundar Pichai

Hickson, who spent his initial years at Google working on HTML and related standards and later on the Flutter project, expressed his dissatisfaction with the company’s direction under Pichai’s leadership. He lamented the “lack of visionary leadership” from Pichai, attributing it to the “deterioration” of Google’s culture. According to Hickson, this decline in morale and vision is a significant shift from the company’s early days, which he described as “an excellent place to work.”

The Core Issues Highlighted

  1. Lack of Clear Vision: Hickson pointed out that currently, no one at Google could articulate the company’s vision, a stark contrast to its earlier days.
  2. Low Morale Among Employees: He mentioned that therapists in the San Francisco Bay Area have observed a general unhappiness among their Google clients, indicating a broader issue of employee dissatisfaction.
  3. Inept Middle Management: Hickson was particularly critical of Jeanine Banks, who manages departments covering projects like Flutter, Dart, and Firebase. He accused her of having minimal understanding of her teams’ work and treating engineers as commodities.
  4. Hope for Recovery: Despite his criticisms, Hickson remained optimistic about Google’s potential to recover. He suggested that a leadership shake-up and the appointment of someone with a clear, long-term vision could steer the company back on track.


Ian Hickson’s critique of Sundar Pichai’s leadership at Google raises significant questions about the direction of one of the tech industry’s giants. It highlights the challenges large organizations face in maintaining a clear vision and positive work culture as they scale. Hickson’s insights offer a rare glimpse into the internal dynamics of Google and serve as a call to action for the company to reevaluate its leadership and management strategies.

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