By Jeffrey Schwartz
GOOGLE CLOUD NEXT — Google has lured GE Digital channel chief Carolee Gearhart to lead the global channel organization in the search giant’s enterprise cloud services group. Gearhart, an industry veteran for two decades, has the title of Google Cloud VP of worldwide channel sales.
Paul-Henri Ferrand, Google Cloud’s president of global customer operations, introduced Gearhart at the company’s partner summit this week in San Francisco.
“Her experience leading channel organizations at some of the most impactful enterprises in the world will be a tremendous asset for our business, our partners and our customers,” Ferrand said. “We’re all thrilled she’s on board.”
Gearhart has spent the past year as chief ecosystem and channel officer at GE Digital, where she drove all of the strategy for the industrial giant’s IoT software solutions group, which includes the Predix digital industrial marketplace platform. In that role, Gearhart forged and expanded relationships with a vast and diverse community of partners including systems integrators, technology suppliers, ISVs and a variety of indirect sales providers.
In her 20 years in the industry, her resume includes key channel management roles at Adaptive Insights, SAP, Deloitte and Peoplesoft.
“It is a great pickup,” said Forrester Research principal analyst Jay McBain. “She has deep channel skills dating back into the ’90s and some serious enterprise chops working across the Fortune 500.”
Gearhart will oversee sales to 12,000 partners as Google Cloud looks to gain share on leaders Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. Partners welcomed the news.
“Carolee is an industry veteran who has a deep understanding of channel and partners,” said Tony Safoian, president and CEO of SADA Systems, a Google Cloud premier partner. “The reporting structure suggests Google sees us – the channel – as simply an extension of their sales organization. This is very refreshing.”
The reporting structure Safoian refers to is Google’s requirement that all inbound sales opportunities must have a partner fulfill the implementation.
Vanessa Simmons, VP of business development for Pythian, a Google premier partner that offers managed cloud services, said she met Gearhart during a session Monday led by Nina Harding, Google’s chief of global partner strategy and programs.
“Carolee was very engaging and attentive and mostly was asking questions about our partnership with Google [and was] eager to learn and observe,” Simmons said. “After only seven days in on the job, she is excited about the opportunity at hand. She’s got a strong pedigree in the channel, which is important as Google [is] building and relying heavily on [its] growing partner ecosystem to help meet overwhelming market demand for Google Cloud Platform services.”
Despite Google’s recent enterprise cloud momentum, Gearhart will have her work cut out for her, Forrester’s McBain said.
“Her main challenge is pulling together the dozens of products, categories and crazy projects into something that is coherent for partners to add value to enterprise clients,” he said.
Gearhart replaces Bertrand Yansouni, who left Google last year and has since taken over channel sales for Rubrik.