Google cloud unit shuffles partnerships and sales groups as CEO Kurian chases market share

Technology

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian speaks at the Google Cloud Next event in San Francisco on April 9, 2019.
Michael Short | Bloomberg | Getty Images

As Google tries to win market share in cloud computing from larger rivals Amazon and Microsoft, the company’s cloud division is again reorganizing, this time by shifting around leadership of its sales and partnerships operations.

Rob Enslin, the president of cloud sales at Google, announced a number of changes this week, according to emails sent to employees in the cloud division and viewed by CNBC. He told staffers that Carolee Gearhart, who has been leading the channel partner business globally for the Google Cloud Platform and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), is leaving to take a job elsewhere.

“With Carolee’s departure, we are taking the opportunity to further refine our newly unified partner organization,” Enslin wrote.

Kevin Ichhpurani, who was previously vice president of global ecosystem, will become the new head of the channels business. He had reported to cloud CEO Thomas Kurian but will now report to Enslin.

CRN reported earlier this week that Ichhpurani is replacing Gearhart.

Just over three years into his tenure as head of Google’s cloud unit, Kurian, an ex-Oracle top executive, has made dramatic changes to the engineering group while aggressively expanding the sales operation.

CNBC reported in September that Kurian was trying to streamline technical units in an attempt to gain market share more quickly. The unit has experienced a string of high-level departures, including the head of developer relations and the leader of engineering and of some key cloud products.

As part of the latest shakeup, Bronwyn Hastings, a former Citrix executive who previously oversaw partnerships, will help Ichhpurani in leading the channels business while still being responsible for the “Technology and Application” partnerships team.

Lindsey Scrase, who previously oversaw revenue for Google Cloud Platform and Workplace, will now report to Greg Tomb, who manages sales for Workspace as well as security. Scrase’s new role hasn’t yet been made fully clear.

Enslin said in the email that the changes are meant to aid “organizational focus of accelerating sales globally.” A Google spokesperson confirmed the changes, adding that the company is trying to bring dispersed teams under a single organization dedicated to partnerships.

Ichhpurani wrote in an email that was part of the same chain that he is “very saddened by the news of Carolee’s departure.”

“This news brings some additional organizational changes we did not foresee when we last met at our January 13th All-Hands,” Ichhpurani wrote, referring to the recent companywide meeting. He added that he hopes the changes will help Google “build the most partner-centric business at scale.”

in a recent blog post, Ichhpurani said Google’s cloud plans to more than double its spend on its partner ecosystem over the next few years. Google said in its last earnings report in October that cloud revenue climbed 45% to $4.99 billion, missing analysts’ estimates, while operating loss narrowed to $644 million from $1.21 billion. The company reports fourth-quarter results next week and investors will have a close eye on the cloud business.

Google has been picking up market share in cloud infrastructure, but is still a distant third and has yet to turn a profit. Amazon Web Services leads with 33% as of the third quarter, according to Synergy Research Group. Microsoft Azure has 20% of the market, followed by Google at 10%.

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