15.08.2023 Today’s Inspiration from Forbes: Google’s CFO Ruth Porat Is Promoted to President and CIO (a New Role)
Have you heard about the recent shuffling of the letters of the “Alphabet?”
Ruth Porat, CFO at Google/Alphabet since 2015, has recently been promoted to President and CIO (Chief Investment Officer, a new title), both roles effective as of September 1, 2023. Porat will, nonetheless, hold her current title until a successor is found, however, remaining in charge of 2024 and longer-term financial planning until that point.
It’s impressive enough to have held the Alphabet CFO title for 8 years, where Porat directed Finance, Business Operations and Real Estate & Workplace Services. Yet, as the World Economic Forum highlights, these responsibilities followed equally hefty ones externally. “Prior to joining Google, Porat was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Morgan Stanley, holding roles there that included Vice Chairman of Investment Banking, Co-Head of Technology Investment Banking and Global Head of the Financial Institutions Group.” What’s more, Forbes credits Porat, who had been advising tech IPOs during this time, as being “The chief architect behind the debt financing that saved Amazon from near-collapse during the dot-com crash in 2000.”
Porat’s contributions typify those of leaders who successfully integrate strong academic discipline, initiative and innovation (Wharton MBA, an MSc in Industrial Relations from LSE and a BA in International Relations and Economics from Stanford) with proven determination and resilience. Having fought and beaten breast cancer twice, for example, Porat remains on the Board of Trustees at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. As a child, Porat also learned about her father’s fleeing Austria at the start of the Holocaust, and later heard his stories shared publicly after providing formal historical testimony on his horrific experiences. Such challenges have proven to Porat the significance of long-term dedication to a desired mission, no matter how difficult.
As TechCircle highlights, Porat’s commercial awareness, analytical skills and continued ability to innovate have made her Google’s longest-serving CFO, while also being an executive credited with having spent nearly three decades at Morgan Stanley. Within Porat’s newest role, one critical dimension will be to “focus on engagement with policymakers and regulators regarding employment, economic opportunity, competitiveness, and infrastructure expansion.” Perhaps even more importantly, “One of her key agendas will be to drive artificial intelligence (AI) that has been the subject of regulatory scrutiny across the world….[as Alphabet mentioned that] currently, 80% of advertisers use at least one AI-driven search product.”
Porat will be responsible for Alphabet’s speculative portfolio.
Like most successful and well-respected global executives, Porat espouses outspoken views on a number of meaningful topics, including the need for diversity, the critical timing of innovation, and the importance of continuous learning. Yet, she is perhaps most vocal as a mentor for young leaders like you. What ought to inspire nearly every ambitious international student, for example, is the truth of the following message, which urges all aspiring professionals, including you and your friends, to initiate, pursue and commit yourselves to achieving both your personal and professional dreams: “I have seen too many people in my career think that there is some natural progression in life, with certain career milestones preceding whatever you may want in your personal life. Unfortunately, life doesn’t know it is supposed to follow a schedule.”
We therefore urge you to take this quote as a cue to recognize that it’s up to you to craft a full life that satisfies you both personally and professionally, one where you can look ahead confidently in the direction of your dreams (with the guidance of our experienced, supportive coaches along the way), and to start that journey now!