The Korea Herald


Resignations at Google Cloud Korea spark concern

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : Feb. 25, 2024 - 13:33

    • Link copied

Resignations continue at Google Cloud Korea as three chiefs so far have left their posts in the four years after serving as short as 10 months amid its grappling market share, according to industry sources on Sunday.

As Kang Hyoung-jun, managing director of Google Cloud Korea, who took office in April and left the company last week, Google Cloud reportedly named Chi Ki-sung, head of SAP practice at its Asia-Pacific office as the next chief, the sources said.

A Google Cloud official confirmed Kang’s resignation but declined to comment on further details, while Kang has been surrounded by controversy over his academic background. The official also refused to confirm on the Seoul region’s new chief nominee.

The incoming new chief will be the fourth to take the top job since Google Cloud opened the Seoul region in February 2020.

In April 2020, it appointed Choi Ki-young, who previously served as managing director at Adobe Korea, as the Seoul region’s chief and began its domestic operation.

After Choi served as the managing director for about two years, his successor, Andrew Chang, took office in March 2022. Chang, however, resigned for “personal reasons” after 10 months. Kang was the third chief to lead Google’s cloud affiliate here after the two predecessors.

This is unusual compared to other global competitors running business in Korea such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft.

Industry sources raise concerns about the frequent replacement of chiefs at Google Cloud Korea, while assuming the company's inability to maintain long-term leadership due to its sluggish performance here.

According to data released by the Fair Trade Commission in December last year, Google Cloud's market share rank in Korea slipped to No. 4 in 2021 from third place in 2019 when it took up a 3.5 percent share. AWS accounted for 62.1 percent of the local cloud service market in 2021, followed by Microsoft with 12 percent and Naver with 7 percent.

"As (Google Cloud Korea's) market share is lower than that of latecomer domestic cloud service providers such as Naver Cloud and NHN Cloud, pressure on performance from headquarters must have been increased and put a greater burden on the chiefs," an industry insider told The Korea Herald on condition of anonymity.

"Pressure was likely put on the former chiefs to turn their dismissal into resignation and leave, to replace a managing director," the person said, while pointing out that the frequent changes in chiefs would further lead to difficulty in building up credibility among domestic clients and providing stable services.