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‘Lacks visionary leadership’: Ex-Google staffer calls out CEO Sundar Pichai

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In a highly critical blog post, a now-former Google employee who resigned last week after 18 years with the company, called out CEO Sundar Pichai, saying that ‘lack of visionary leadership’ on the latter’s part, has led to ‘deterioration’ of culture at the tech giant.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai (Reuters file photo)
Google CEO Sundar Pichai (Reuters file photo)

Ian Hickson, who spent his first nine years at Google working on HTML and related standards, worked on Flutter in the last nine. While he termed Google’s early days ‘an excellent place to work,’ it was with Flutter that issues began to come up, though he noted how some of his ‘fondest memories’ are from the early days of the project.

“Today, I don’t know anyone at Google who who could explain what the company’s vision is. Morale is at an all-time low. If you talk to therapists in the (San Francisco) bay area, they will tell you all their Google clients are unhappy with it,” he wrote.

Hickson continued: “Much of these problems today stem from a lack of visionary leadership from Sundar Pichai, and his clear lack of interest in maintaining the norms of early Google.”

Stating how this has led to a ‘spreading contingent of inept middle management,’ the ex-staffer was particularly severe on Jeanine Banks, who manages the department that covers projects such as Flutter, Dart, and Firebase.

“Her (Banks) understanding of what her teams are doing is minimal at best; she frequently makes requests that are completely incoherent and inapplicable. She treats engineers as commodities in a way that is dehumanising She is completely unable to receive constructive feedback,” Hickson stated.

He, however, remained optimistic, noting how it was still possible for the company to heal itself, even if this would require some ‘shake-up’ at the leadership level, with power being handed over to someone with a ‘clear long-term’ vision for the Mountain View, California-based tech firm.

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