While he may not have written code that's two world-leading consumer adoption stories. So many great engineers build products that never achieve great adoption. So aren't Pichai's accomplishments worthy of CEO-level promotion?
Recruiting a world-class team, motivating them to achieve such domination, managing their egos amid a huge company full of talented people, executing across the behemoth that is Google... all these are vital skills and as a company grows maybe more of what you need from a CEO than one who is the most talented engineer. (I may be wrong; just a thought).
Couple of personal observations-
Would it have been same if Chrome was not advertised on every google property and google intentionally breaking google properties on competitor browsers?
Also there was really no competition for android.
But not sure if the these two products were not world class then they would have worked.
And Chrome originally swept the world because it was just so much better (most faster) than everything else. That’s why the tech industry migrated initially, and then the growth tactics probably just kept things moving to grab the number one spot.