Thomas Kurian: A commitment to the cloud

A world leader in cloud-based services, Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian has been helping spearhead global digital transformation efforts for three decades

With three decades of industry experience, Thomas Kurian has a deep knowledge of engineering, business relationships and leading large organisations.

Since 2019, he has led the Google Cloud team as CEO, with a mission to accelerate the organisation’s ability to digitally transform the business with the best infrastructure, platform, industry solutions and expertise.

Ranking at number one in Technology Magazine’s Top 100 Leaders 2023, Kurian is leading the company towards a broad range of cloud-based partnerships to accelerate enterprise cloud and AI adoption. The company is also exercising its generative AI capabilities to develop a suite of transformative platforms and industry solutions for a range of business scenarios.

Exploring the benefits of a cloud-led strategy

Kurian was born in Southern India. At the age of 17, he moved to the United States to study a BSEE in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Princeton University, from which he graduated summa cum laude. He also holds an MBA in Administration and Management from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

He started his career with McKinsey & Company as a consultant, where he served clients in the software, telecommunications and financial services industries for six years in London and Brussels.

For more than 20 years, he was the President of Product Development at the multinational technology company, Oracle, which saw him lead a 35,000-person software development team across more than 30 countries. He oversaw product development that generated annual revenues of roughly US$32bn, of which US$5.5bn was just in the cloud.

He worked to lead the transformation of Oracle’s products by introducing leading suits of Cloud Services over a period of 10 years, as well as leading 60 software acquisitions and 45 data centres. Having worked closely with Oracle founder Larry Ellison, Kurian resigned from the company in 2018, having reportedly clashed with Ellison on the company’s cloud strategy. 

In 2010, Kurian was the 18th highest-paid man in the US in 2010 and the fifth highest-paid tech executive in 2010. As of 2023, he is reportedly one of the richest business executives in the world.

The American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI) awarded its 2023 Lifetime Achievement award to Kurian at its 35th National Conference, the ASEIcon2023.

Google Cloud: Increased enterprise demand for cloud services

After resigning from Oracle, Kurian joined Google Cloud and initially focused on selling G Suite applications to business clients. He has also been working with his team to build a foundational set of AI models for clients for a broad range of use cases. 

Ultimately, the company has been working to advance generative AI worldwide, having launched a wide range of consulting services for businesses. These include helping businesses modernise their core systems, as well as helping them to build new cloud-native applications. It ensures that it helps its clients understand data analytics more efficiently, as well as offering cybersecurity tools to keep both data and users safe.

The organisation has also been announcing a series of new customers, partners and product innovations throughout 2023. These alliances are designed to help businesses, governments and users benefit from generative AI and leading cloud technologies.

In particular, the company revealed new infrastructure and tools to help customers with improvements to its Vertex AI platform, in addition to the introduction of its Duet AI platform in Workspace and Google Cloud.

Speaking on this development at the time, Thomas Kurian said: “We are in an entirely new era of cloud, fuelled by generative AI.” 

He continues: “Our focus is on putting gen AI tools into the hands of everyone across the organisation - from IT, to operations, to security, to the board room. As the industry’s most open cloud, our goal is to help companies use AI and other cloud technologies to streamline their operations, increase productivity, and create entirely new lines of business.”


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