Former Samsung Chief Technology Officer Injong Rhee joined Google to head the company’s Internet of Things unit, the industry veteran revealed in a LinkedIn post published Monday. Mr. Rhee resigned his position at Samsung in December and has now taken the role of an “Entrepreneur In Residence” under Google’s cloud computing division. As such, he will be reporting directly to Google Cloud Chief Executive Officer Diane Greene. The tech executive said one of his first priorities will be coordinating Google’s IoT projects in order to make the company’s overall ventures in the segment more efficient while simultaneously paving the way for the development of unique offerings targeted at both enterprise customers and individual consumers. Ultimately, the goal of the appointment is to strengthen Google Cloud’s senior management and ensure the company’s long-term sustainability, as suggested by Mr. Rhee.
The holder of a Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill spent more than six years at Samsung, having been deeply involved in the development and launches of a number of high-profile products such as Samsung Pay mobile payments solution, Bixby artificial intelligence assistant, and Knox, the company’s mobile service for secure data storage. His vast experience in the field and strong academic background make him a traditional Google hire, with his appointment also appearing to be more than just one of Google’s attempts to bolster its unit catering to big businesses. Given Mr. Rhee’s specific mention of consumers as one of his new team’s target audiences, it appears that Google is also looking to continue its major hardware push that’s been underway for over a year now, having originally started with the launch of the first-generation Pixel flagships and its Google Home lineup of smart speakers in late 2016.
Google already confirmed the arrival of Mr. Rhee but has yet to provide any details on his immediate goals. The company recently started another major restructuring, having opted to reabsorb Nest only a year and a half after first spinning it off into a largely standalone entity. According to its official comments on the matter, Google opted to once again join forces with Nest so as to achieve a higher level of integration of its AI technologies into the firm’s smart home devices.