Exclusive

Head of Google federal cloud leaves

Aileen Black, Google’s executive director and industry lead and group leader for the U.S. government, has left her position.

A Google spokeswoman confirmed Black is no longer with the company, but offered no further details including who will replace her even on an acting basis.

Black said she decided to leave to help out two close family members who are dealing with cancer.

“We have a great team. We had an incredible two years. This year alone, we have more than doubled the consumption of Google cloud in government.” Black said in an interview with Federal News Network. “We have been able to recruit an incredible team, but it was time to leave.”

Black said she has no immediate plans to return to work, but is looking at joining a couple of boards of directors and wants to work to support women running high-tech companies.

Black came to Google to run its cloud offerings for the federal government in November 2016.

During her tenure, Google became known for two big cloud decisions. The first was to support Project Maven, the Defense Department’s big data artificial intelligence initiative to interpret video images and improve the targeting of drone strikes.

Google eventually stopped supporting Project Maven after thousands of employees voiced their disapproval of working with DoD in a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, obtained by The New York Times. More than 3,100 employees signed the letter, and they also wanted Pichai to announce a company policy that they will never help build warfare technology.

The second was Google’s decision not to bid on the potential $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Initiative (JEDI) cloud program. Black said in October that JEDI wasn’t right for Google for several reasons.

The National Institutes of Health also is working with Google to give researchers at more than 2,500 institutions access to storage, compute and machine learning technologies to access biomedical data and accelerate research progress toward finding treatments and cures for diseases.

Additionally, Black helped oversee the approval of Google’s cloud at the moderate impact level under the Federal Risk Authorization and Management Program (FedRAMP) in March. Currently, Google’s G Suite software-as-a-service offering has 13 authorizations, and its services has 16 authorizations.

Before joining Google, Black ran her own consulting company and was vice president and general manager for public sector for VMWare.

Earlier in her career, she worked EMC, Oracle and ONTOS in various public sector roles.

Black also co-hosted the Women of Washington show on Federal News Network from 2014 to 2017.

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