Diane Bryant, the former president of Intel’s data center division and a pillar of the chipmaker’s executive echelons, has been hired as chief operating officer of Google’s cloud business, ending months of speculation about her career plans. She had been on leave to address personal family matters for the last six months.
Diane Greene, senior vice president of Google Cloud, wrote in a blog post Thursday that the company had hired Bryant, who leaves behind a business that last year represented almost a third of Intel’s $59.4 billion of sales. The group accounts for 99% of the market for server chips that power the infrastructure of the internet, even though investors pout about its slow growth.
Last month, Intel said that its data center division reaped $4.9 billion of revenue in the third quarter, up from $4.5 billion the same time last year. In addition to cloud computing and network virtualization, Bryant also wagered on the future of artificial intelligence by investing in a combination of Xeon CPUs, Altera FPGAs, and Nervana nueral network processors for data centers. Intel is trying to compete with Nvidia, which has grown rapidly by advertising its graphics chips as the brains of data centers.
Losing Bryant further scrambled Intel’s executive ranks, which have been in constant flux as the company grapples with slowing sales of personal computers. Navin Shenoy, general manager of the client computing group, replaced her in May. Now he is facing down growing competition from Advanced Micro Devices and Qualcomm, which is selling server chips based on the Arm architecture.
Intel indicated in a regulatory filing that Bryant would retire from the Santa Clara, California-based company Friday. Intel will make a severance payment of $4.5 million to Bryant, who was in charge of the data center group’s strategy and product development for five years before being promoted to president in April – a month before she took her leave of absence.
“We are growing at an extraordinary rate as we enable businesses to become smarter with data, increase their agility, collaborate and secure their information,” said Greene in the blog post. “Diane’s strategic acumen, technical knowledge and client focus will prove invaluable as we accelerate the scale and reach of Google Cloud.”