Exclusive: Former IBM India chief Karan Bajwa slated to take charge of Google Cloud in India

Exclusive: Former IBM India chief Karan Bajwa slated to take charge of Google Cloud in India
Karan Bajwa
20 Feb, 2020

Former IBM country head Karan Bajwa is headed to Google Cloud where he is expected to take charge of the India cloud business of the Mountain View, California headquartered technology giant, two persons privy to the development told TechCircle. 

Email queries to Google on Bajwa's appointment did not elicit responses at the time of publishing this report.

Cloud computing was a $9 billion revenue business at Google Cloud for the calendar year 2019, significantly smaller compared to rivals Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft. 

AWS, Seattle headquartered Amazon's cloud computing arm, reported $9 billion in revenues for the December 2019 quarter alone, which makes its 3.5 times the size of Google Cloud. Redmond headquartered Microsoft clocked more than $9 billion during the December 2019 quarter in Azure revenues. This includes the cloud subscription revenue of Microsoft's Office 365 and other products, which are available on the cloud. 

Bajwa is a technology industry veteran having spent nearly two decades in the sector in senior executive roles across companies. In his last assignment as managing director of information technology (IT) services and consulting firm IBM’s India operations, Bajwa steered the firm during a period of great change in the wider marketplace. 

"Bajwa was responsible for growing IBM’s mid-market business, enabling clients’ digital transformation and journey to the cloud," IBM said in a statement when Bajwa quit early this year after a less than four-year stint.

Earlier, Bajwa spent close to nine years at Microsoft, where he was managing director for the India business for three years, and also did a short stint at networking firm Cisco Systems India. 

Incidentally, IBM itself has seen some major top leadership changes globally. In January this year, the Armonk-headquartered firm elected Arvind Krishna, currently senior vice president of cloud and cognitive software, as CEO of the firm. Krishna is slated to take over from incumbent CEO Ginni Rometty in April.

Read: Meet Arvind Krishna, IBM’s first ‘geek’ CEO and IBM drives into the cloud era

Google Cloud has also seen some top level churn in India. Last September, country director Nitin Bawankule left to join Disney's video streaming platform Hotstar as the head of ad sales. The position has been lying vacant since then. 

While Google Cloud’s India revenues are not known, the company is a strong player in this market behind AWS and Azure. Bawankule was previously the company's director for ecommerce and classifieds, indicating his lack of immediate experience in working with enterprise markets.

Google's products such as search, mail and maps command about 90% of the India market as does the mobile software operating system, Android, which runs most smartphones in the country. The company along with social media giant Facebook controls the country's internet advertising market as well.

Under the new global CEO Thomas Kurian, who joined the company from enterprise giant Oracle a year ago, Google Cloud has been on an acquisition and hiring spree. On Thursday, it acquired Cornerstone Technology, which helps enterprises to migrate to Google Cloud.

Last month, it acquired Indian-origin founder Praveen Sheshadri’s Seattle-based enterprise app-building platform AppSheet.

Public cloud deployments could contribute close to $100 billion to India’s GDP by 2023, according to a recent Google Cloud Platform and Boston Consulting Group report.

Meanwhile, Google India recently roped in former Star and Disney head Sanjay Gupta as country manager and vice president of sales and operations. The former India head Rajan Anandan moved to venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India.

Software developers working on cloud applications, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are driving their enterprises in India to embrace Google Cloud, in line with their technological preferences that work best on the platform, Asia-Pacific managing director Richard Harshman had told TechCircle in a recent interview.