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Suresh Kumar, via LinkedIn

Microsoft has quietly hired a veteran of Amazon’s retail business, Suresh Kumar, as its new corporate vice president in charge of cloud infrastructure and operations, a critical position as the Redmond company competes against Google, Amazon and many others in the booming market for cloud computing.

The hire, disclosed on Kumar’s LinkedIn page, was first reported by analyst Dave Ohara, as noted by GigaOM earlier today. GigaOM says Kumar will report to Microsoft exec Scott Guthrie and replace Dayne Sampson, who is listed as corporate VP of Microsoft’s Global Foundation Services on LinkedIn.

Here’s how Kumar’s profile describes his new job: “Responsible for designing, building and operating the infrastructure that (powers) Microsoft’s cloud; the engineering systems required for automating and optimizing the processes associated with the planning and management of the cloud infrastructure.

The news comes just ahead of a Microsoft cloud event in San Francisco, kicking off shortly with Guthrie and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Follow our live blog from the scene here.

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