Diane Bryant, the longtime Intel exec hired by Google Cloud as its COO, has left after less than a year, as Business Insider reported earlier on Tuesday. None of the main players — Google, Intel or Bryant herself — have so far said why.
But we do have some idea of the climate at Google Cloud leading up to her departure. One source close to the situation told Business Insider that her hiring last December mystified some at Google, right from the start.
Sure, Bryant appeared to be a star. She had the right background and credentials. Nonetheless, two things stood out about the announcement on Google’s blog that she’d been hired caught people’s attention, the source said.
At Intel, she had overseen the company’s Data Center Group from 2012 to 2017. She was known as a genius at handling technical infrastructure.
The problem was that Google Cloud already had a genius, and someone with a very similar skillset, in Urs Hölzle, Google’s senior vice president for technical infrastructure. At Google, Hölzle is a legend. He was Google employee No. 8. He was one of the designers of the company’s groundbreaking data centers.
What role would Hölzle fill if Bryant was coming on, and why did Google Cloud need a COO when it already had Hölzle, were just a few of the questions people asked, according to the source. The other curious aspect in the announcement was the lack of details about what her duties would be, and who would report to her, said the source.
The source said that when Bryant came on, people were very excited, but it was obvious it hadn’t been thought through what she would actually do. “At least initially, she just never became involved,” the source said. “She never got going.”
Now, many in the tech sector are speculating that Bryant will be a candidate to replace Brian Krzanich as CEO of Intel. Krzanich resigned in June after it was revealed he had a past consensual relationship with an Intel employee. Before she left Intel, Bryant was considered to be one of the heirs apparent to Krzanich — and now the CEO job is available.
The lack of a defined role at Google Cloud wasn’t the only peculiar about Bryant’s hiring, we hear. Six months before leaving Intel, Bryant had taken a leave of absence to take care of a “personal family matter.”
“We can confirm that Diane Bryant is no longer with Google,” a spokesperson said earlier on Tuesday. “We are grateful for the contributions she made while at Google and we wish her the best in her next pursuit.”
Google declined to comment further. Hölzle and Bryant could not be immediately reached for comment.
*If you have any information regarding why Diane Bryant left Google, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org