Urs Hölzle started working for Google in 1999 at a time when people were using Yahoo and Alta Vista to search the internet. As Google grew in popularity over the years, it rose through the ranks. He recently ran infrastructure for Google Cloud, reporting directly to CEO Thomas Kurian, but today the company confirmed reports that Hölzle was stepping down from his executive role.
However, Hölzle, who is employee number 8 at Google, is not going to leave the company. Instead, he will move into an individual contributor role where he will become a Google Fellow, an individual research role at the company.
It was quite a shock for someone with Hölzle’s unique understanding of the company to step away from the infrastructure role he held for so long. Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research, said that Hölzle was a key figure in the company, and through his vast experience became something of the glue between Google and Google Cloud.
“He helped build strength within Google to make the transition from niche cloud to enterprise-grade cloud. Being the eighth employee, he is eager to explore new ideas and return to innovation,” Wang told Zero2Billions. Being in the Partner role should help enable him to do that.
However, moving from a leadership role to an individual contributor is likely to impact Google Cloud. “He did a great job helping the engineering team understand what a product-led culture was like, in contrast to the rest of Google, which lacked the engineering discipline companies expect from their vendors,” said Wang.
Over time, Hölzle will be succeeded by Chris Vonderhaar, who spent 13 years at AWS in various data center operations roles. Before resign suddenly last month, he held the title of VP of AWS Data Center Community, where he is responsible for the design, planning, construction, and operation of AWS data centers, in his opinion. LinkedIn profile. While he stepped into the big shoes, Vonderhaar is no slouch, having spent more than a decade helping build the infrastructure for AWS.
At Google, Vonderhaar’s title would be vice president of supply and demand management, an interesting title to be sure, but one in which he should be able to put his extensive experience to work helping replace Hölzle’s knowledge of running the company’s infrastructure.