Analysts have applauded Google for landing a powerful woman from a banking industry that has yet to see its first female CEO. After her pivotal role in saving Morgan Stanley in 2008’s financial crisis, Google are hoping she will bring some financial discipline to the internet company – one that has a habit of spending millions on projects that have little to do with the main company.
Porat, who has already secured a sweet package, will be given a $5m signing bonus to supplement her initial salary of $650,000, and another bundle of stock worth $40m next year. Google’s current CFO, Patrick Pichette, started out with a salary of $450,000.
Alongside this announcement, Google explained that all executives would be getting the same stock grants as Porat instead of cash bonuses going forwards.
“While Wall Street investment banks are closely scrutinised by shareholders on bonus packages and stock awards, Silicon Valley has far greater leeway to lure talent with stock-loaded compensation,” Forbes reported, predicting a continued “brain drain” from the financial to the tech world. Take, for example, former Goldman Sachs banker Anthony Noto, who left Wall Street to take Twitter’s CFO job.
“It wouldn’t be surprising if the CFO ranks at top tech companies become increasingly staffed by Wall Street veterans,” Forbes said. “As the tech sector rises in profitability and takes an even greater prominence on public markets, there’s an increasing need for firms to communicate and act like S&P 500-sized companies.”
Read more about departing CFOs:
- Uber CFO quits, sparking IPO rumours
- GAME Digital set to lose CFO who brought business back to life
- McDonald’s UK CFO gets bumped up to national MD
Andrew Dewson from the Independent, takes this theory one step further by suggesting that Google could be on the path to poaching all of Wall Street. Arguably, Google’s hallmark, it’s complex algorithms, has already become an important part of Wall Street. Many hedge funds and trading platforms are run by similar technology.
He explained that it was not hard to believe that computer-generated research would have just as much chance of making good buy or sell calls as human-generated research.
“But that’s the top end of finance,” Dewson said. “The bottom end is actually where the megabucks are made and where almost all of Wall Street’s administration could be done more cheaply by Google. So who wants to bet that Google isn’t casting its beady eye over Wall Street’s money-making machine? Not me.
“If Google thinks it can transform the car industry by creating driverless vehicles, which look increasingly unlike science fiction and increasingly like reality, then it can look at what the finance industry does and say: ‘We can do that better’. It’s not hard to believe that Silicon Valley’s army of programmers are smarter than their Wall Street opponents.”
If those are, indeed, Google’s plans then Porat fits in perfectly as she was a top banker dealing specifically with technology firms. It makes one think back on the time where Angela Ahrdents suggested that we needed to keep pace with how every consumer, “from India to China to Brazil”, is carrying the same devices.
Technology is transforming retail and customer experience in ways that are essential but at times difficult to comprehend. But by working together with designer Christopher Bailey, Ahrdents was able to oversee the strongest digital push in the fashion world, building relationships with tech giants.
Given her financial leverage, Porat may be exactly what Google needs to finally take over the world.
One glance at CEO Larry Page’s statement on her appointment suggests that Google are about to do something big: “I look forward to learning from Ruth as we continue to innovate as well as invest in a thoughtful, disciplined way in our next generation of big bets.”
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