(Image source from: The Financial Express)
Former Oracle product chief, an Indian-American Thomas Kurian will succeed Diane Greene as head of the cloud division at Alphabet's Google in the approaching weeks, Greene announced in a blog post on Friday, after a tumultuous year for the business.
Greene said she had joined Google three years ago with plans to leave after two years and will move into investing and philanthropy in January, however, she will remain on Alphabet's board.
Serving for 22 years at Oracle, Kurian, who had been a close associate of its founder Larry Ellison, resigned in September after striving to expand its cloud business.
Greene has served as chief executive of Google Cloud, while Kurian will be senior vice president for Google Cloud, a company spokesman said.
Google proclaimed in February that the cloud division, which sells computing services, online data storage and productivity software such as email and spreadsheet tools, was generating more than $1 billion in quarterly revenue.
It faced a reversal months later when thousands of Google employees revolted against Greene's unit supplying the United States military with artificial intelligence tools to aid in analyzing drone imagery. Greene responded by announcing the deal would not be renewed.
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The recoil over military work induced an internal committee of top employees to issue company wide principles to regulate the use of Google's artificial intelligence systems, including a ban on using them to develop arms. The move essentially constricted the cloud unit's potential customer base.
Google also bowed out from bidding for a $10 billion military cloud computing contract, citing its absence of certifications to manage sensitive data.
Closing and extending such deals would have given Google Cloud a major boost as it tries to catch up to rivals Amazon and Microsoft. Oracle's cloud business trails Google's.
Steve Koenig, a financial analyst following Oracle for Wedbush Securities, said Kurian is better positioned at Google to drive business sales growth than at his former employer.
"Like Diane Greene, Kurian has serious enterprise chops," Koenig said. "Google clearly remains serious about scaling up its enterprise business."
Greene said Kurian interviewed with her, Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai and long-time infrastructure chief Urs Holzle and will join Google on November 26.