Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene steps down, to be replaced by former Oracle exec

Greene will be succeeded by Thomas Kurian, a longtime Oracle executive who recently left after reported disagreements with Larry Ellison.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

After three years at the helm of Google's Cloud business, Diane Greene announced Friday that she's stepping down from the role. She'll be replaced by Thomas Kurian, a longtime Oracle executive who recently left after reported disagreements with Oracle co-founder and CTO Larry Ellison.

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Greene will continue as CEO of Google Cloud through January to ensure a smooth transition, she wrote in a blog post. She'll also remain a director on the board of Alphabet, Google's parent company.

Kurian will officially join Google on November 26.

Greene, who previously served as CEO of VMware, joined Google late 2015 just as the internet giant was turning its attention to its enterprise business. She consolidated Google's enterprise efforts under the Google Cloud brand, bringing together the Google Cloud Platform, Google Apps and G Suite, and Google's enterprise sales and marketing efforts.

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    "We have moved Google Cloud from having only two significant customers and a collection of startups to having major Fortune 1000 enterprises betting their future on Google Cloud," Greene noted in her blog post.

    During Greene's tenure, Google Cloud established a training and professional services organization, as well as AI and machine learning services that helped Google compete against cloud giant Amazon Web Services. The business set up industry verticals, helping it win customers in several sectors including health, retail and financial services.

    In the second quarter of 2018, Google Cloud held an 8 percent share of the cloud infrastructure market, according to research firm Canalys. While it still trails AWS and Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud grew faster than both of its bigger competitors at 108 percent year-over-year.

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    "In a few short years, under Diane's leadership, Cloud has become an incredible business built on Google's decades of investment in infrastructure, data security, and AI," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement. "Today, those investments are available to everyone and truly changing the way people work."

    Kurian, Pichai added, brings "product vision, customer focus, and deep expertise" to Google Cloud.

    Kurian resigned from Oracle in September, after working there since 1996. He most recently served as president of product development and reportedly directly to Larry Ellison.

    In that role, Kurian was responsible for leading software development and transitioning the company's technology to the cloud. However, his departure was reportedly preceded by disagreements with Ellison over the company's cloud strategy. Kurian reportedly wanted to let more of Oracle's software run on AWS and Azure, while Ellison opposed that in favor of promoting Oracle's own infrastructure.

    In her blog post, Greene said she is stepping down as CEO "turn to the passions I've long had around mentoring and education."

    Specifically, her work in education will focus on initiatives that combine technology with in-person teaching. The mentoring will include helping female founder CEOs who have engineering or science backgrounds.

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    "I want to encourage every woman engineer and scientist to think in terms of building their own company someday," Greene wrote. "The world will be a better place with more female founder CEOs."

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