Outgoing Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired
Outgoing Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene

Ex-Oracle Cloud Head Kurian to Replace Google Cloud CEO Greene

Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene is stepping down, being replaced by Thomas Kurian a former Oracle executive • Greene oversaw a big expansion of Google’s cloud business but failed to make meaningful gains against Amazon, Microsoft • Kurian spent 22 years at Oracle, most recently leading its cloud strategy • He left Oracle in September after reportedly clashing with co-founder and CTO Larry Ellison

Diane Greene is stepping down after three years as head of Google’s cloud computing business. Thomas Kurian, a long-time Oracle executive who resigned last month after reportedly clashing with Oracle co-founder and CTO Larry Ellison, will take over for Greene at Google.

Over the recent years, Greene oversaw Google’s aggressive expansion into the enterprise cloud market, investing tens of billions of dollars in data centers, new features, and enterprise support capabilities and winning numerous big-name enterprise customers. But the company hasn’t managed to make meaningful market-share gains in the race with market leader Amazon Web Services and the second-largest player in the space, Microsoft Azure.

In a blog post published Friday, Greene wrote that her initial plan was to stay at the helm of Google Cloud for two years. Now, after three years on the job, she wants to turn to her long-held mentoring and education passions:

The mentoring will include investing in and helping female founder CEOs who have engineering or science backgrounds. I want to encourage every woman engineer and scientist to think in terms of building their own company someday. The world will be a better place with more female founder CEOs.

The work in education will especially be initiatives that combine technology with in-person teaching to make high-quality education that is low-cost, scalable and personalized. When bebop was purchased by Google, I committed all of my proceeds to philanthropy, it is high time to put that money to work!

An enterprise tech celebrity, Greene is one of the founders of VMware, whose server virtualization software led a wholesale transformation of enterprise computing through radically increasing server efficiency and spurring the birth of cloud computing – providing computing infrastructure as a service. She was VMware CEO from 1998 to 2008.

Google hired Greene to lead its cloud business in 2015 after its parent company Alphabet acquired her previous startup bebop, a development platform for enterprise applications, for $380 million. She’d been on Alphabet’s board of directors since 2012.

In her blog post Friday, she said she’d committed all proceeds from the bebop deal to philanthropy, and that now was “high time to put that money to work!”

Greene said she will remain a director on Alphabet’s board after she steps down from her role as CEO of Google Cloud. Kurian will join the company after Thanksgiving and transition into the Google Cloud leadership role early next year.

Kurian spent more than two decades at Oracle. He was reporting to Ellison for the last 10 years of his tenure, most recently as president of product development, leading its cloud strategy.

He officially resigned from Oracle around late September-early October, following an alleged disagreement with Ellison about strategy for Oracle’s enterprise applications. Anonymous sources told Bloomberg News that Kurian was convinced that the company should make its applications available on other cloud providers' platforms, such as AWS or Azure, while Ellison thought otherwise.

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