Google Replaces CFO with Morgan Stanley Executive Ruth Porat

In March of 2015, Google Inc. announced their new CFO, Ruth Porat, who will replace Patrick Pichette in the position beginning in late May. Pichette announced in a memo two weeks prior that he intends to retire for personal reasons. Although his successor is currently at Wall Street, she has extensive experience in managing technology companies.

Porat has been the CFO of financial services corporation Morgan Stanley since 2010, where she advised numerous large corporations on their initial public offerings (including those of Amazon and eBay), and led funding rounds for those companies as well as for Netscape, Priceline, Verisign, The Blackstone Group, GE, and the NYSE. Porat has also acted as advisor during the financial crisis of 2007, consulting for the US Department of the Treasury and the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Porat almost ran as Deputy Treasury Secretary of the United States in 2013, but withdrew her bid in light of contemporary political hostility against private financial institutions in general and concerns about the invasive nature of politics.

Porat’s appointment comes during Google’s current struggle with slow growth in the company’s search advertising revenue. The company’s search advertising revenue has only grown at 17% year-over-year since 2008, below market expectations of 22%. As a result of declining revenue in this arena, Google’s shares fell from $604.83 to $511.17 in the final quarter of fiscal year 2014. However, as of March 24, 2015, the company’s stock price closed at $577.54 and the company maintains a net income currently at $4.76 billion. With rising cash inflow, Porat must also determine how to optimize the use of the company’s large cash reserves of $67.5 billion USD, much of which is held overseas and would be subject to taxes upon its return.

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