For someone who was employed at Google for less than a year, Diane Bryant had a surprising amount to say about the company on Tuesday.
Before leaving late last year, Bryant spent 32 years at Intel, where she forged her reputation as a star in its IT systems and data center businesses. In contrast, she left Google after being COO of Google’s cloud division for about 7 months.
That didn’t stop her from dropping Google’s name plenty during her speech before a gathering of IT admins at the University of California at Davis, her alma mater. At one point, she asked who in the crowd still had mainframe computers plugged in, and then offered an anecdote.
“As COO of Google cloud, I recently met with the CIO of McDonald’s,” said Bryant, whose departure from Google was announced six weeks ago. “He very sternly told me ‘Yes, I have mainframes and I’m not ashamed of it. I like my mainframes.'”
A senior executive leaving before even completing a year raises questions
Rare is the high-profile senior executive who departs a company like Google after less than a year. When it occurs, that often signals buyers remorse on one side or the other. If that’s the case, though, neither Google nor Bryant are talking.
Following her speech, Bryant did not take questions from the audience, and according to several campus employees, quickly departed for meetings elsewhere on campus. A source with knowledge of her situation at Google said last month that Bryant’s duties were never very clear from the start, and she had few people reporting to her.
Though she has not publicly discussed her plans for the future, she undoubtedly is still a sought after manager. Fortune magazine named her in 2015 and 2016 among the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business.” When Diane Greene, Google’s cloud chief, hired Bryant, it was considered a coup.
Bryant’s name is often mentioned among the people that would make a good choice to replace Brian Krzanich, Intel’s former CEO, who resigned in June following revelations that he had an affair with a subordinate.
Google IT provides more security with facial recognition technology
In her speech, Bryant offered several interesting details about Google’s IT department. She said Google possesses a “highly, highly ssophisticated security system that was developed and is run by IT.” She noted April’s shooting attack at YouTube’s headquarters.
She said Google’s IT group “took upon themselves the challenge to augment the existing (security) solution and to augment it with facial recognition, with AI. So the face on campus has to match the badge or building access is shut and security is alerted.”
Bryant told the crowd that Google’s IT managers are using AI to analyze data surrounding the 175,000 free meals Google serves every day to employees; a benefit that costs the company $600 million a year.
“They feed that information to the cafeteria managers on a daily basis to drive his and her purchasing decisions,” Bryant told the crowd. “They look at many, many data sources. For instances, is there a three-day weekend coming and hence fewer people will come to work. What’s the weather prediction? Is it going to rain? Are people more likely then to eat in or go out…They look at campus data. How many employees at a given campus?”
Bryant concluded with a joke. “The result is,” she said, “Kale is extremely popular amongst Googlers.”