Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) selected VMware co-founder and former CEO Diane B. Greene to its board of directors, filling the 10th seat vacated more than two years ago by Arthur Levinson.
Greene, who took on the role Jan. 12, also now serves on Google's audit committee. Greene launched VMware in 1998 and within a few years the company kick-started the market for x86-based server virtualization, which allows multiple instances of an operating system to run on a single computer.
To spur growth, Greene in 2004 helped broker the deal to sell VMware to storage giant EMC (NYSE:EMC), which was looking to broaden its revenue stream opportunities. Greene also helped take VMware public in 2007, an IPO lauded as an excellent move, even though EMC retained ownership of 90 percent of the company.
Greene continued to lead the company, until her unceremonious ouster in 2008 after a weak quarter. Paul Maritz took her place as CEO.
"Diane is a special person who combines a sharp business acumen with a brilliant technical mind," said Eric Schmidt, who shifted to the role of executive chairman at Google after co-founder Larry Page reclaimed the CEO role in April. "We know she will be a great contributor and we are grateful to have her insight."
That insight includes a lot of experience overseeing and running businesses. Greene has been a member of the board of directors of Intuit since 2006, and has held technical leadership positions at Silicon Graphics, Tandem Computers, Sybase, as well as CEO of VXtreme. Google could user her business-software expertise to fortify its own enterprise division, which includes collaboration applications and search.
Greene also knows a lot about building out more efficient server systems. Google is already the company believed to employ the largest number of servers worldwide across dozens of data centers, where fields of commodity computers whir, hum and crunch numbers in a mesh of sophisticated cloud computing.
Greene restores Google's board to 10 members after Levinson left in October 2009 when he was forced by the Federal Trade Commission to choose between retaining his board seats at Google and Apple.
The FTC had opened an investigation into whether the dual-board roles of Schmidt and Levinson at Google and Apple constituted a conflict of interest between two competing companies.