Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired

Diane Greene is stepping down as the head of Google's cloud computing business, three years after taking the role. She will be replaced by Thomas Kurian, who has been president of Oracle since late 2014 before exiting in September.

  • Greene will remain as CEO through January continue to serve as a director on parent company Alphabet's board.

Thought bubble: Greene brought tons of industry credibility at a time when Google needed to establish itself as a cloud player, but much work remains as Google continues to battle Amazon and Microsoft. Her departure also means the exit of one of the company's top female leaders at a time where it is under the microscope with regards to gender issues

In a blog post, Greene said she had only planned to stay at Google for two years and ended up at the company for three.

"We have moved Google Cloud from having only two significant customers and a collection of startups to having major Fortune 1000 enterprises betting their future on Google Cloud," Greene said.

The context: As the founder and CEO of VMware, Greene brought a keen understanding of both businesses' IT needs as well as how the cloud shift was changing the face of corporate computing.

Greene was also one of the highest ranking and high profile female executives at Google, along with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet.

What they're saying:

Analyst Maribel Lopez of Lopez Research said Google is "definitely in the cloud race" with around 14,000 customers and innovation around artificial intelligence and machine learning.

"But the company needs to win more of the mundane workloads if it wants to be successful in the space. When Greene joined, the race for the second position was wide open in cloud computing with Google, Microsoft and IBM in the running. Today, Microsoft appears to own that second slot. Google needs to turn this around quickly."
— Maribel Lopez

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