Google Cloud adds its first North American sales head as it tries to catch up to Microsoft and Amazon

Key Points
  • Google Cloud is adding its first North American sales head, former Red Hat and Microsoft executive Kirsten Kliphouse.
  • The new hire comes after several growth investments under CEO Thomas Kurian.
Google Cloud headquarters sits in Sunnyvale, California.
Google Cloud

Google Cloud is bringing on its first-ever North American sales head.

Kirsten Kliphouse will lead North America sales as the company goes after enterprises, mid-market customers and small and midsize businesses, the company told CNBC. She will also oversee how customers use G-suite as well as broader Google services.

The latest appointment comes as Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian executes his plan to aggressively expand its sales team as the company tries to catch up to leading cloud competitors Amazon and Microsoft. Kurian this week also brought on his former Oracle colleague of 20 years, Eduardo Lopez, as Google Cloud's first sales head of Latin America.

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The new executive hires also come as the company announced three tuck-in acquisitions in less than two months. Google Cloud announced plans to acquire data analytics firm Looker for $2.6 billion in June. Last week, it announced Google's cybersecurity company Chronicle would move from an Alphabet spin-out into Google's cloud umbrella. Then, this week, it announced plans to acquire cloud storage company Elastifile for an undisclosed price.

"Kirsten and Eduardo are inspirational business leaders who will ensure we continue to build strong relationships with users, including HSBC, UPS, Whirlpool and many others," Rob Enslin, president of global customer operations for Google Cloud, told CNBC in an email. "Their expertise in running multi-billion dollar sales organizations and managing large teams will be invaluable as we focus on accelerating our growth."

Kliphouse was most recently at Red Hat, which is now part of IBM, and previously spent almost a decade at Microsoft. She will step into an executive role rarely held by women in a male-dominated tech industry. She told CNBC she views the job as an "opportunity to influence" with her leadership.

"There have been many challenging moments, but it's all worth it if I can help open more doors for the next generation of leaders, especially those of underrepresented backgrounds, who have historically not had a fair playing field," Kliphouse said. "Being an active mentor and corporate sponsor has always been important to me, and I'll continue to strongly focus on this area at Google Cloud."

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