Google's Amit Singh Leaving Enterprise Leadership Role

Amit Singh, the Google executive largely responsible for shaping the Internet giant's channel structure over the past five years, revealed Friday that he's leaving Google's enterprise division to run operations for the company's virtual reality team.

Singh is vacating his position as president of Google for Work, he tweeted, to take over business and operations as a vice president in a unit that's developing headset devices, like the Google Cardboard viewer.

The move comes six months after Diane Greene took charge of Google for Work in the role of senior vice president.

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Some of Google's channel partners told CRN they had been expecting a leadership change since Greene's hire.

Rajesh Abhyankar, CEO of Princeton, N.J.-based Google premier partner MediaAgility, told CRN: "We were speculating this change of guard as Google for Work prepares for the next stage of growth with an SVP level person coming in to lead."

A Google spokesperson told CRN that Singh's position is not being struck from the books, and the company is looking for someone to fill the vacancy. Until they do, Greene will work directly with Singh's team.

"Diane Green is an enterprise software veteran and is going to run the playbook her very specific way," Tony Safoian, CEO of SADA Systems, a Los Angeles-based Google partner, told CRN.

Singh has deep experience developing marketing, sales and retail strategies for early-stage products. He helped Google build its Chromebooks business, and also played a significant role in bringing to market Android for Work.

Singh was also a controversial figure in Google's channel.

A CRN report last year cited several partners who blamed the former Oracle exec for changing the culture when he was brought in to head sales in March of 2010.

Soon after joining Google as vice president of international sales for enterprise, Singh started bringing into the company new sales leaders -- many of them his former colleagues at Oracle -- and imposing discipline on what most agree had become an unruly program. As a result of those efforts, some partners said, Google became ambivalent to the success of partners that weren't driving massive business selling its first enterprise product, the Google Apps cloud productivity suite.

Partners told CRN Singh imported from Oracle a strategy of driving enterprise expansion by teaming direct sales with a select group of global system integrators -- and pruning the program of smaller regional players.

"That's when the culture changed. The direct sales agents started to compete," one partner told CRN. "They started changing the program, giving quotas to everyone. Sales reps started doing more internal business."

Thrilled to be joining Google VR team to lead biz and ops. Incredibly proud of and where they are headed

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