Google Cloud is following up on the launch of its Google Cloud for Retail solution suite by bringing on board two execs to lead the search engine giant’s cloud strategies. Carrie Tharp, VP of Retail, will be responsible for creating and executing Google Cloud’s strategy throughout the industry, while Janet Kennedy, VP of Retail Enterprise Sales, will lead the Google Cloud retail sales team.
Tharp will oversee opportunities for Google Cloud to engage retailers with a differentiated value proposition designed to help these brands stay ahead of the curve.
“Retail is such a dynamic and evolving space, so we will continue to develop new ways to deliver enterprise value leveraging the broader Google ecosystem — whether it’s applying new data science techniques, or AI and machine learning, or something else entirely to solve key retail issues,” Tharp said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “The truth is that retailers face a number of growing challenges: accelerating price competition, digital marketing cost inflation, evolving customer expectations, disparate IT systems and pressure from e-Commerce giants.”
Tharp has experience in bringing a cloud-centric martech approach to retailers, having spent the last three years as the EVP and Chief Digital Officer of Neiman Marcus Group. There, she developed the digital-first strategy for Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Last Call, and Horchow. Tharp led the retailers’ shift to an e-Commerce software stack while leveraging AI and machine learning to drive programs like digital styling, personalized promos and algorithmic buying.
“While the industry has talked about personalization and omnichannel for more than a decade, I think we’re now at a point where cloud computing and AI can help retailers successfully execute on these strategies at scale — and achieve truly personalized, connected customer experiences,” Tharp said. “It’s about moving beyond specific ‘channels’ and interacting with customers in a channel-less way in context of where they are in their shopping journeys, in real time.”
Tharp will report to Tariq Shaukat, President of Partners and Industry Platforms at Google Cloud, while Kennedy will report to Kirsten Kliphouse, the cloud division’s President of North America Sales.
Kennedy most recently served as Digital Transformation leader for the Americas at EY, but she spent 16 years at Microsoft, most recently as VP of MSUS Digital Transformation. She was President of Microsoft Canada for four years, driving double-digit growth on $2.5 billion in revenue, and helped build out the company’s Retail & Hospitality Industry practice.
“My background centers around working within very large organizations to advocate on behalf of retailers to apply the best technologies, learnings and expertise to solve their core business problems,” Kennedy told Retail TouchPoints. “With 30 years of real-world experience in managing digital transformations for clients, I have found retailers and consumer product organizations to be some of my favorite customers to work with. I think it’s because they deeply touch consumers and receive real-time feedback from the market. As a strategic partner, we have to be more nimble, enabling them to create new solutions at a faster pace.”