Google cloud leaders 2x1

  • Google Cloud is competing with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft for bigger share in the fast-growing cloud market.
  • These 22 executives are leading Google's bid to expand its reach in cloud computing.
  • These executives are focused on expanding sales, partnerships, and customer relationships, as well as building technology like artificial intelligence and cloud infrastructure.
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With Amazon and Microsoft gobbling up large portions of the share on the cloud market, Google Cloud is playing catch-up.

Still, with former Oracle veteran Thomas Kurian now well into his second year as Google Cloud CEO, the search giant has expanded on its cloud ambitions.

Last year, it hired a new leader, Robert Enslin from SAP, to head sales, customer operations, and partnerships. During its most recent earnings call in April, Alphabet revealed that Google Cloud generated $2.8 billion in revenue in the past quarter, a 52% year-over-year increase. Google CEO Sundar Pichai had also said Google Cloud plans to triple its sales force in the next few years.

On top of that, Google Cloud recently made changes in its sales organization to go after bigger customers and reward high-performing sales employees

Google Cloud is also releasing more products to cater to the enterprise. For example, last year it launched Anthos, a hybrid cloud product – meaning it allows customers to run their applications and data not only on Google Cloud, but also on private data centers. Notably, it can even run on rival clouds – a strategy Kurian reportedly tried to execute at Oracle. With Anthos, Google Cloud beat Amazon to launching a generally-available hybrid cloud product.

It's also launching products to hone in on specific industries like retail and telecommunications. Some analysts say that these changes at Google Cloud, which seem to be borrowed from Oracle, could drive a cultural clash.

"Today, Google's enterprise division is very different than it was just a few years ago as it continues to change its attitude toward understanding customer needs and 'meeting the customer where the customer is,' David Smith, distinguished VP analyst at Gartner, wrote. "New bold leadership at Google Cloud is allowing more focus on opportunities that leverage synergies between its cloud business and advertising and marketing."

Read more: Google Cloud has a new program to assign its best salespeople to go after the biggest customers — but Google employees say it makes it harder for current salespeople to advance

Still, experts say Google Cloud is playing up its strengths. Some of its advantages, customers say, are its innovation. Another is its deep roots in Kubernetes, a cloud project for running large scale applications that was started by Google engineers. It's also partnering with smaller companies that built their business around open source software.

As Google Cloud aims to become a larger cloud player, these are the 22 executives who are leading the charge.

SEE ALSO: Here's how VMware is putting its $550 million acquisition of Heptio to work as it builds a new future around Kubernetes, the red-hot cloud software created by Google

Thomas Kurian is making big changes as Google Cloud's CEO.

Title: CEO, Google Cloud

Thomas Kurian joined Google in November 2018. He took the place of former Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene, who announced her departure late last year. 

Before Google, Kurian spent 22 years at Oracle, where he most recently served as the president of product development. And prior to Oracle, he worked at McKinsey as a business analyst and engagement manager.

Currently, Kurian serves as a member of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council and Princeton University School of Engineering Advisory Council.

Recently, Business Insider reported that under Kurian, Google Cloud has changed how it compensates salespeople to focus more on bonuses and incentives – a move that's similar to what Oracle does.

"He's basically applying the Oracle playbook," Jeb Su, vice president of advanced technologies at Atherton Technology Research, told Business Insider. "He's reinforcing the sales force and changing how salespeople are paid...What Kurian is doing is really transforming Google Cloud as a real enterprise software company with the right incentives in terms of sales and with the appropriate salesforce."

Overall, David Smith, distinguished VP analyst at Gartner, believes that Kurian is doubling down on the enterprise efforts that former Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene began.

"With the arrival of Thomas Kurian, we see more discipline in pricing and a renewed, more focused investment in building a larger, more capable enterprise sales team," Smith wrote. "These are encouraging signs, but we believe there will still be a transition period of several years as sales teams are built and/or reoriented to sell the traditional enterprise value propositions of the public cloud," Smith said. 



Robert Enslin spent nearly three decades at SAP.

Title: President of Global Customer Operations

Robert Enslin joined Google Cloud in April to head up global customer operations, which includes sales and working with customers and partners.

Before Google, Enslin spent 27 years at SAP and served in various sales and operations roles. Most recently, he worked as president of the cloud business group and an executive board member. At SAP, he developed and managed the company's cloud product portfolio.

Besides working in tech, Enslin sits on the Board of Directors of Discovery Limited in South Africa and the container startup Docker.

Jeb Su, vice president of advanced technologies at Atherton Technology Research, says Enslin is bringing a major focus on customers from SAP to Google Cloud.

"He's doing two things," Su said. "First of all, he's really there to understand what are the needs of enterprise customers. That's really important because you can have the best technology in the world, but if you can't understand what customers need it's pointless. Then from that understanding of customers, he's really building solutions, and that's what Google lacks."

Hiring Enslin was one of Google's "significant strides" to make its cloud business more viable, David Smith, distinguished VP analyst at Gartner, wrote.

"Actions include hiring Thomas Kurian and Rob Enslin, strategic investments in sales and marketing, and partnerships with integrators and service firms to drive more enterprise adoption," Smith wrote. "We look for increased focus on the enterprise to pay dividends for Google as it gains greater adoption over the next year."



Before Google, John Jester worked at Microsoft for nearly 20 years.

Title: Vice President of Customer Experience

John Jester is the vice president of customer experience at Google Cloud. This means he's responsible for developing and executing strategies that make sure customers are getting good value out of Google Cloud. In other words, this includes professional services, training, and customer support.

Before Google, Jester worked at Microsoft for 20 years. Most recently, he was the corporate vice president of worldwide customer success, where he started a new organization to help Microsoft's customers adopt its Azure cloud. 

He had also served as vice president of worldwide specialist sales, where he led enterprise sales strategy for Microsoft's cloud services, as well as general manager of global accounts, where he was responsible for Microsoft's top 100 enterprise customers.



Kirsten Kliphouse joined Google Cloud from Red Hat in 2019.

Title: President of North America Sales

Kirsten Kliphouse leads Google Cloud sales across North America. She joined in July, and is based in Florida. 

Most recently, she served as senior vice president and general manager of North America Commercial Sales at Red Hat. There, she led sales, marketing, consulting, among other things. 

Before that, she was CEO of an early-stage connected devices company called Yardarm Technologies, and spent nearly 10 years at Microsoft in various leadership roles, such as vice president of enterprise sales and partners, and corporate vice president of the customer service and support division.

"She's the next in the series of new leaders that Thomas Kurian and Rob Enslin are bringing in," Tony Safoian, CEO of SADA Systems, a Google Cloud partner, told Business Insider. "They're deploying certain structures in their go-to-market plan that are more meaningful to partners and create a better customer experience."

 



Urs Hölzle was Google's first Vice President of engineering.

Title: Senior Vice President of Technical Infrastructure

As senior vice president of technical infrastructure, Urs Hölzle oversees how servers, networks and Google's data centers are designed and operated, as well as how Google Cloud's software infrastructure is developed. He makes sure Google Cloud's infrastructure is available to developers worldwide. 

Hölzle was Google's first vice president of engineering, and he helped the search giant scale up its technical operations in its early days to become the web giant that it is today. 

Before that, he was an associate professor of computer science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.



Kevin Ichhpurani is a 12-year SAP veteran.

Title: Corporate Vice President of Global Ecosystem

Kevin Ichhpurani serves as the corporate vice president of global ecosystem and business development. Over nearly 24 years in the technology industry, he has led global strategy, venture capital, mergers, and acquisitions.

Most recently, he served as executive vice president and corporate officer of GE Digital. Prior to that, he was a senior partner of global markets at Ernst and Young. And before that, he spent 12 years at SAP, where he had served as executive vice president and head of business development and global ecosystem.

 

 



Before Google, Carolee Gearhart worked at GE Digital.

Title: Vice President of Worldwide Channel Sales

Carolee Gearheart has worked in the industry for over 20 years, including nearly seven years at SAP. 

Currently, Gearheart is the vice president of worldwide channel sales at Google Cloud. In her role, she's responsible for global channel strategy and Google Cloud's relationship with reseller partners. 

Before Google Cloud, she served as chief ecosystem at channels officer at GE Digital, where she led the strategy and execution for GE Digital's partner relationships.



Andrew Moore has conducted research on big data and helping robots be more useful.

Title: Head of Google Cloud Artificial Intelligence

Andrew Moore, PhD, became the head of Google Cloud Artificial intelligence in January. But he's no newcomer to Google.

Before Google, he worked for 13 years as a computer science professor at Carnegie Melon University. Starting in 2006, he worked at Google and was the founding director of Google's Pittsburgh engineering office, where he's still based.  From 2011 to 2014, he served as the vice president of engineering for Google Commerce, which includes Google's shopping and offers features. 

He took a four-year hiatus in 2014 to become the dean of Carnegie Melon University's School of Computer Science. Now, he's back at Google heading up Google Cloud Artificial Intelligence.

Moore conducts research in big data, meaning that he applies statistical methods and math formulas to analyze massive quantities of information like web searches, astronomy, and medical records.

Previously, he has also conducted research on improving the ability of robots to sense and respond to the world around them.



Will Grannis founded Google Cloud's CTO office.

Title: Managing Director of CTO office

Will Grannis founded Google Cloud's CTO office, which is a team of senior engineers that help Google work better with its largest and most important customers. 

Before joining Google five years ago, Grannis had worked as an entrepreneur, enterprise technology executive, and investor. He spent over six years at Boeing as a general manager leading product. Prior to working in tech, Grannis served as a captain in the US Army.

 



Eduardo Lopez, a 20-year Oracle veteran, just joined Google Cloud in 2019.

Title: President of Latin America Sales

Eduardo Lopez just joined Google Cloud in July after working at Oracle for 20 years. Now, he's leading the Latin America sales team.

At Oracle, he most recently served as senior vice president for solution engineering, enterprise architects, and industry innovation.

Lopez has spent much time working with the Latin America region. For example, at Oracle, he had held executive positions at Oracle's Latin America division. Prior to that, he was vice president of Oracle Brazil.



Javier Soltero used to head up Office strategy at Microsoft.

Title: Vice President and General Manager of G Suite

Before working at Google Cloud, Javier Soltero was the head of strategy for Microsoft's Office productivity suite before leaving in November 2018. Now, he heads Google's own productivity offering, G Suite, which competes directly with Microsoft Office.

Soltero joined as the vice president of G Suite in October 2019, overseeing apps like Gmail, Sheets, Docs, and Calendar. Google's G Suite had 6 million paying business customers at last count.

Prior to Microsoft, Soltero was the CEO and cofounder of the mobile email startup Acompli, which was then rebranded to become the official Outlook mobile apps. While at Microsoft, Soltero also led its Cortana voice assistant, which competes with the likes of Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, and the Google Assistant.



Yolande Piazza spent over three decades at Citigroup.

Title: Vice President of Financial Services

In June, long-time Citi executive Yolande Piazza joined Google Cloud as its vice president of financial services. She leads the company's North American financial services sales and customer engineering teams.

Under Kurian's leadership, Google Cloud has been ramping up its efforts to attract Wall Street firms and banks as customers. In July, Google Cloud announced Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank as customers. As the head of financial services at Google Cloud, Piazza helps with creating products aimed specifically towards Wall Street.

Piazza spent 32 years at Citigroup, most recently as CEO of Citi Fintech, which leads mobile efforts for Cit's consumer bank.



Lori Mitchell-Keller is leading Google Cloud's initiative to target specific industries.

Title: Vice President of Industry Solutions

Lori Mitchell-Keller serves as the vice president of industry solutions at Google Cloud, after joining in May. Prior to Google Cloud, she worked at German database giant SAP for 13 years.

Under Kurian's leadership, Google Cloud is targeting six specific sectors: retail, financial services, health care, manufacturing, media and entertainment, and the public sector. Going after specific industries has been a major focus for Google Cloud. Mitchell-Keller leads this strategy, and works with the sales and marketing teams for each of those industries.

While she was at SAP, Mitchell-Keller led sales and partner strategy for 20 industries, including financial services, healthcare, and retail.



George Nazi has years of experience in the telecommunications sector.

Title: Vice President of Industry Solutions in Telecommunications, Media, and Entertainment

George Nazi serves as the vice president of industry solutions in telecommunications, media and entertainment, and joined in May. Prior to Google Cloud, he worked at consulting giant Accenture for nearly seven years.

Google Cloud has been focusing on going after customers in the telecommunications sector, amid the rise in video streaming and 5G. Just in March, Google Cloud announced a partnership with AT&T to launch a version of its Anthos product for the telecom industry to help customers in that sector run applications on both their private data centers and the cloud.

Besides developing strategy to win customers in the telecom, media, and entertainment industries, he also collaborates with Google Cloud's artificial intelligence team to develop new products. 

Nazi had served as the global communications and media industry lead at Accenture.



Eyal Manor has worked at Google for nearly 13 years.

Title: Vice President and General Manager of Application Modernization Platform

Eyal Manor has worked at Google for nearly 13 years now. Currently, as vice president of engineering and product at Google Cloud, he leads the development of products for developers like Anthos, a recent product that allows customers to run their applications on Google Cloud, private data centers, and other clouds as well. He also leads Google Kubernetes Engine, as well as its serverless products that allow developers to run applications without having to manage any of the infrastructure. 

Before leading engineering at Google Cloud, he was the vice president of engineering at YouTube and a senior engineering director for Google Ads.



Sunil Potti has worked at companies like Nutanix, Citrix, F5 Networks, and Cisco.

Title: Vice President and General Manager of Security

Sunil Potti leads the Google Cloud Security team and the development of the company's security products. His team makes sure Google Cloud is as secure as possible, an important advantage in the cloud wars. 

Before joining Google Cloud last year, Potti had worked at a variety of enterprise tech companies, including Nutanix, Citrix, F5 Networks, and Cisco.



Brigette McInnis-Day is an HR veteran of SAP.

Title: Vice President of HR 

As Google Cloud aims to triple its salesforce in the next few years, Brigette McInnis-Day is responsible for growing the company's workforce and developing talent. Google Cloud has big ambitions to hire more salespeople to target companies in specific industries and more engineers to build products that can take on AWS and Microsoft, so recruiting, hiring. and talent development will be crucial. 

She joined Google Cloud last year as a veteran of SAP and SAP SuccessFactors, which is the company's human resource management software business. Most recently, she served as COO of SAP SuccessFactors.



Amit Zavery is a 24-year Oracle veteran.

Title: Vice President and General Manager of Business Application Platform

Amit Zavery is responsible for building and expanding Google Cloud's business applications, such as Cloud Storage and the data warehouse BigQuery

Before joining Google Cloud last year, Zavery spent over 24 years at Oracle in a variety of leadership roles. Most recently he served as the executive vice president of product development, where he oversaw over 4,500 engineers and led the company's product vision, design, development, and sales strategy for products. He also helped start and build Oracle's cloud platform.



Rick Harshman has led operations in the Asia-Pacific region for Google Cloud and AWS.

Title: Managing Director of Asia Pacific and Japan

Rick Harshman is in charge of leading sales operations for products like G Suite and the Google Cloud Platform across the Asia Pacific region. There, Google Cloud is not only competing with rivals AWS and Microsoft, but also Chinese giants like Baidu and Alibaba, which currently have a larger market share worldwide than the search giant. He's also building out the team and strategy to expand across that region. 

Before joining in 2016, Harshman was in charge of the same region region for Amazon Web Services and has also worked at Akamai Technologies as a senior sales manager.



Chris Ciauri has led operations in the EMEA region at Google Cloud and Salesforce.

Title: President of EMEA 

Chris Ciauri works in London as the president of EMEA at Google Cloud, meaning he leads the sales organization and expanding business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. 

Before joining Google Cloud last year, Ciauri spent 10 years at Salesforce, where he most recently also headed up sales and operations in that same region. He has also worked across other regions worldwide including Latin America and Asia.



Hamidou Dia is a 20-year Oracle veteran.

Title: Vice President and Global Head of Solutions Engineering 

Hamidou Dia heads the team that helps customers understand their business issues, helps them use Google Cloud to solve business problems, and builds solutions to help them. 

Before joining last year, Dia spent almost 20 years at Oracle and served in a variety of leadership roles. Most recently, he headed solutions engineering and cloud customer success for North America at the database giant.



Nina Harding is a veteran of SAP, Microsoft, and Oracle.

Title: Chief of Global Partner Programs and Strategy

Reports to: Carolee Gearhart, vice president of worldwide channel sales at Google Cloud

Nina Harding serves as Google Cloud's chief of global partner programs and strategy. Before Google, Harding worked as SAP for over 12 years, where she launched partner programs and led the company's partner strategies.

Prior to that, Harding worked at Microsoft for about two years, where she helped advise its top partners on using Windows and other technologies. She has also spent time with startups like Cacheon and Formida, as well as a stint with Oracle for over seven years, where she built customer and sales programs.

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