Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat takes on new role overseeing its investments and new initiatives
Alphabet Inc. finance chief Ruth Porat is taking on a new role at the company, overseeing its investment strategy and various initiatives in its Other Bets portfolio, such as Nest, Verily, Waymo and X.
Today’s announcement came as Google LLC’s parent company delivered its second-quarter earnings report, beating expectations thanks to encouraging growth in its cloud computing business. The company’s stock moved more than 5% higher on that report.
Porat (pictured) is one of Silicon Valley’s most powerful and highest-profile female executives and Google’s longest-serving chief financial officer. The plan is for her to step down eventually from the CFO role to take over a newly created position as Alphabet’s president and chief investment officer. She will continue to oversee Alphabet’s finances until a new CFO can be found, the company added.
The 64-year-old British-American executive began her career at Morgan Stanley just before the stock market crash of 1987, and slowly worked her way up into a powerful position at the bank. Porat notably advised a number of technology firms on their initial public offerings, including Google, and she is also credited with creating the European debt financing that may have saved Amazon.com Inc. from going bankrupt during the dot-com crash in 2000.
In 2010, Porat became Morgan Stanley’s CFO, prompting Politico to hail her as “the most powerful woman on Wall Street.”
Porat’s relationship with Google kicked off in earnest in 2015 when she was appointed as the company’s CFO. There, she helped the company to reorganize itself under a new structure, with Alphabet serving as the parent company of Google and various other business interests.
In her new role as president and chief investment officer, Porat will continue to report to Alphabet Chief Executive Sundar Pichai and will have both external and internal responsibilities. In an interview with CNBC today, Porat said a big part of her role pertains to overseeing Google’s investments, including areas such as artificial intelligence, its data center expansion and a massive effort to expand its presence in India. She’ll also engage with government policy makers to try and convince them of the importance of continuing investments in technology.
“I’m excited about this new role and the opportunity to engage with leaders globally to unlock economic growth via technology and investment,” Porat said in a statement.
Asked why she had decided to change her role now, Porat said she had been a CFO for 14 years and felt the time was right to take on a new set of challenges.
Porat will also oversee Alphabet’s Other Bets, which is the business segment that bundles its more speculative projects, such as Waymo, the self-driving car unit, Verily, the life sciences division, and Nest, its smart home ecosystem. She’ll also take responsibility for how Alphabet invests its cash reserves.
“In her new role, Ruth will strengthen our collaboration with policy makers and shape our corporate investments to have maximum economic impact for people and economies around the world,” Pichai said in a statement.
Analyst Charles King of Pund-IT Inc. told SiliconANGLE it was nice to see Alphabet and Google rewarding Porat for her incredible talents and capabilities. “In a so-called ‘innovative’ industry, it is good to see that at least some tech companies ensure that female executives receive the respect and positions they clearly deserve,” he said.
Photo: GES Photo/Public Domain/Wikipedia
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