Google Cloud confirms departure of EMEA president Chris Ciauri

That 41% 2020 regional revenue growth lagged US and APAC. Sources claim HQ expected higher returns

Exclusive Google Cloud’s global sales president has assumed temporary control of operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) following the exit of Chris Ciauri some 20 months after he took the job.

"Chris Ciauri has decided to leave Google to pursue external opportunities. We are very grateful for his leadership during his time with us, and we wish him all the best for his future endeavours," said a Google Cloud spokesperson.

"Our Global President for Google Cloud Sales, Rob Enslin, will step in as interim lead until we appoint a new leader for EMEA," they added.

Ciauri quit his post at Salesforce in September 2019 after 10 years as executive veep president and GM EMEA, and set about trying to build a regional team to lead Google's Workplace and Cloud Platform business where it's playing catch-up with AWS and Microsoft.

In 2020, Ciauri hired a bunch of experienced sales heads from Salesforce, Microsoft and SAP. These included Pip White to run Google Cloud in the UK and Ireland; Daniel Holz as boss of DACH and Northern Europe; Samuel Bonamigo as bigwig for Southern Europe; and Laurence Lafont as veep for EMEA industries (excluding France). These execs then in turn recruited to swell their own ranks.

Sources who discussed the situation on the condition of anonymity said the regional hiring spree added to overheads and the expectations of senior leaders in Santa Clara.

"Google opened up the cheque book and he [Ciauri] went and signed up some big hitters to run different country operations. Google Cloud is doing really well in the US," said one.

Google Cloud EMEA also grew fast in calendar 2020, and clearly remains an important part of parent Alphabet' s central plans, but it expanded slower than the rest of the company's other two major regions in the US and Asia Pacific.

In and among the numbers, total revenue at Google Cloud grew 46.4 per cent year-on-year to $13.059bn. The US arm posted a higher than the average lift at 49.6 per cent to $6.137bn and Asia Pacific was up 55.63 per cent to $2.35bn. In EMEA, revenue went up 41.7 per cent to $3.917bn, accounting for 30 per cent of group sales versus 31 per cent in 2019.

Ciauri hardly presided over a sales flop, and the company also notched up some customer wins under his leadership, including Deutsche Bank, Nokia, Orange, Lloyds Banking Group, Group Renault and Swedish bank SEB.

However one source told us: "It was a bit like fantasy football, and when you open up the cheque book, expectations rise."

Google Cloud reported an operating loss of $5.6bn in 2020, compared to an operating loss of $4.645bn in the prior year. The company did not publish the regional breakdown. In its 10K SEC filing [PDF] for the annual results, Google states:

"The increase in operating loss in both periods was driven by an increase in total expenses of $5,103 million from 2019 to 2020…Operating expenses increased primarily due to compensation expenses (including SBC), largely driven by an increase in headcount. Additionally, data center and other operating costs increased in both periods."

Google refused to comment further on Ciauri's exit in relation to the financial figures, saying it does not comment on speculation. The Register also asked Ciauri to comment.

2020 was a good year for the biggest cloud computing providers with Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Alibaba benefiting as the pandemic accelerated digital transformation within enterprises, convincing customers to migrate more workloads out of their own data centres and into someone else's.

Google is the third runner in the global public cloud sales stakes behind AWS and Microsoft Azure, and filling out its internal infrastructure in terms of sales and service personnel is among the efforts to catch up, as is building stronger links with a growing number of third party sellers in the channel.

To provide some context on what Google is chasing: AWS turned over $45.370bn in its fiscal '21 ended 31 January. This was up 30 per cent year-on-year. AWS made an operating profit of $13.531bn versus $9.201bn the year before. ®

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