The departing CEO of Google's Cloud division, Diane Greene, made a post on the company's blog explaining her departure and stating that she will be following her passions in mentoring and education. According to Greene's post, she will be leveraging her power and status to reach out to as many female engineers as possible and empower them toward being CEOs. Educational efforts, meanwhile, will consist of combining education and technology to create scalable one-on-one educational solutions. She also takes some time to personally vouch for her incoming replacement, former Oracle executive Thomas Kurian. She announced that she will remain CEO of Google's Cloud operations until January, and she will be working directly with Kurian to help him transition into his new role smoothly. She will also continue to serve on Alphabet's board of directors, a move that Google CEO Sundar Pichai praises in a statement appended to the post.
Background: This move is actually a long time coming, if you know Greene. She states in her post that she initially only planned to be the CEO of Google Cloud for two years before moving on to pursue her personal dreams, meaning that she stayed an extra year to help get Google Cloud to the state that it's in today. Back when she joined in 2015, it was a department that seemed to have a lot of untapped potential, and it wasn't responsible for much besides keeping the cloud backend for all of Google's services up and running. Now, the sub-company is taking on unique projects of its own, and has even set up a number of vertical acquisitions wherein Google Cloud runs smaller companies using its unique set of talent and resources. The company also set up an award-winning marketing department during Greene's tenure, and has been expanding on Google's core cloud and AI work in meaningful and occasionally surprising ways. Going forward, Greene says that she is confident that Kurian can take the business to new heights.
Impact: Thomas Kurian was Oracle's president of product development from 1996 until now, a tenure that had him in a leading position with one of the top cloud companies out there from the infancy of the concept. There are few people out there who are, on paper, more suited to run Google Cloud. Greene said that she, Pichai, and Google VP of Engineering Urs Hölzle all interviewed Kurian and find him suitable. Kurian's position was arguably similar to Greene's, despite the difference in title; he led the evolution of Oracle's product suite over the years, and it's no exaggeration to say that he changed the company's fates. Similarly, Diane Greene was put into a difficult position when she assumed the mantle of Google Cloud CEO; she had to not only figure out how best to continue the company's current track, but also plan and head up new products to expand its scale and scope. Both executives did a fine job in their roles thus far, and a personal recommendation from Greene makes Kurian seem like a safe bet. Even so, with any leadership change comes change to the company and its products, and only time will tell how a seasoned veteran like Kurian will run things.