Google picks business chiefs for European Advisory Board

A sign that the company is taking data sovereignty concerns more seriously


Google has established a European Advisory Board for Google Cloud made up of executives drawn from across industry in the region.

The move comes just weeks after the internet giant announced data sovereignty controls for its Google Workspace service to address the concerns of EU organizations.

According to Google, the European Advisory Board has been set up to help Google Cloud improve the value and experience it can deliver for customers in Europe. As the board is made up of "accomplished leaders" from across industry, it will serve as an important feedback channel for ensuring Google's cloud-based products and services meet European requirements.

The list is notable for including two former French government officials. Anne-Marie Idrac was Minister of State for foreign trade and now a director for French multinational Saint Gobain, while Delphine Gény-Stephann served as Secretary of State to the Minister of the Economy and Finance, and is now on the board of Eagle Genomics, EDF, and Thales.

Other notable members include Brent Hoberman, co-founder and executive chairman of startup accelerator Founders Factory, and co-founder of lastminute.com, plus Jos White of Notion Capital, a venture capital firm focused on SaaS and Cloud. Jos founded MessageLabs and Star, one of the UK's first internet providers.

Jim Snabe currently serves as chairman at Siemens, but is also a member of the World Economic Forum Board of Trustees and Adjunct Professor at Copenhagen Business School.

The remaining members are Michael Diekmann, chairman of the Supervisory Board of Allianz SE, and Julia Jaekel from the board of Adevinta ASA and Holtzbrinck Publishing Group.

Google said that the European Advisory Board members "offer proven expertise and distinct understanding of key market dynamics in Europe," and will therefore assist Google Cloud in its understanding of the challenges enterprises across industries and the public sector face in order to drive the company's expertise and differentiation in Europe.

Among those challenges is protecting any data that gets stored in the cloud, which is perhaps why Google announced earlier this month Sovereign Controls for Google Workspace. Due towards the end of this year, these will allow organizations to control and monitor transfers of data to and from the EU, according to the company.

Google is not the only cloud giant changing its behavior to make sure it can continue to do business in Europe. Microsoft last week said it was changing its software licensing policies for European cloud providers to address accusations that it was involved in anti-competitive tactics.

Last year Microsoft also announced that it was working to ensure that European customers of its Azure, Microsoft 365, and Dynamics 365 services would be able to have all their data processed physically within the EU by the end of 2022. ®


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