- Thomas Kurian, who had worked at Oracle for over two decades, has served as Google Cloud‘s CEO for about three months now.
- Last week, Google Cloud made announcements at its Next conference signalling a commitment to open source software and a strategy of allowing customers to use multiple clouds.
- Business Insider spoke with six startup executives, as well as some Googlers, on their thoughts about his strategy.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Before becoming CEO at Google Cloud, Thomas Kurian worked at Oracle for over two decades, and was even at one point rumored to be the database giant’s next CEO.
But in September, he would take an extended leave of absence, and sources say it was because he butted heads with Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison over cloud strategy. Later that month, Kurian announced his resignation. Less than two months later, he was announced as the new Google Cloud CEO, taking over for former CEO Diane Greene.
He officially took over the post in January.
There’s been talk about how he plans to drive changes at Google Cloud, which is seen as lagging behind its rivals at Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. Some are speculating how he’ll use his years of experience at Oracle to lead Google Cloud, and many say he will likely make aggressive acquisitions.
And at Google Cloud’s annual conference, the company made big waves by launching Anthos, which allows customers to run their work not only on Google Cloud and their own data centers, but also any other cloud they want — including AWS and Microsoft Azure.
Last November, Business Insider spoke with various executives at other companies on what they thought about Kurian becoming Google Cloud’s new CEO, and many echoed the same sentiments: that he has his work cut out for him.
Now that Kurian has been CEO for about three months, here’s what startup executives — and the Googlers who work under him — are saying about the direction he’s headed so far.
Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at email@example.com, Telegram at @rosaliechan, or Twitter DM at @rosaliechan17. PR pitches by email only, please. Other types of secure messaging available upon request. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.
Tigera CEO Ratan Tipirneni: ‘The partner go-to-market was nonexistent at Google’
"In my previous role, I got to work with all the cloud providers. I got to work with Oracle Cloud. That’s when I got to know Thomas Kurian personally. I’m pretty bullish about Thomas Kurian. He’s very handsome, very detailed oriented and he is very enterprise savvy.
Google’s technology is probably several years ahead. The gap they had was go-to-market…A lot of go-to-market people were told what to sell and pitch. Enterprises tell you what to do and you build what they want. I didn’t think Google was doing it. Their pitch was focused on speeds and feeds. Enterprise customers don’t care about that. They have to flip around and say what problem are you trying to solve? How can we solve that? The partner go-to-market was nonexistent at Google. They were not giving their partners due respect, and enterprise problems are complex. I think he’s likely to drive the organization to cultural changes in working with partners."
Solo.io CEO and founder Idit Levine: ‘Until now, they were losing the war’
"Google is stepping up and saying we are going to win this war and need to fight. At the end of the day, everyone has an agenda. Until now, they were losing the war. The way Google is playing, they’re saying, this is the community company. They’re branding themselves better and going multi-cloud. I feel [Kurian is] going to bring them to enterprise."
Eric Brewer, vice president of infrastructure and fellow at Google: ‘I think we’ve known for a while we need a bigger sales team and customer support’
"The core strategy predates Thomas and he’s a strong supporter. His big addition has been to make sure we don’t do it strategically but have a vertical by vertical focus, as in how do you customize for retail and financial services? It helps you be more clear on what customers actually need and want.
Sales has been comparatively small in the industry…We have tons of leads. How do you convert those leads into dollars? That’s where Thomas Kurian has direct experience and credibility. I think we’ve known for a while we need a bigger sales team and customer support."
- The leader of one of Google’s most important cloud businesses explains why it took her 14 years of convincing to join the company
- Experts say that new CEO Thomas Kurian’s Oracle-like playbook could cause a ‘culture clash’ at Google Cloud — and that could be a good thing
- Google Cloud’s new CEO is executing the playbook that Larry Ellison apparently wouldn’t let him run with at Oracle