Original Story: mercurynews.com
MOUNTAIN VIEW -- One of Wall Street's most powerful women will become one of Silicon Valley's most powerful women when Ruth Porat joins Google this spring as its chief financial officer.
The Internet search giant on Tuesday announced the hiring of the 57-year-old Porat, a longtime Morgan Stanley banker who became its chief financial officer in 2010. She will become Google's highest-ranking female executive when she starts her new job on May 26.
Porat described the post as a kind of Silicon Valley homecoming. She grew up in Palo Alto, studied economics at Stanford University and was later a top banker dealing with technology firms.
"I'm delighted to be returning to my California roots and joining Google," she said in a statement.
Porat has been the public face of Morgan Stanley and been referred to in reports as the most senior woman -- or most powerful -- on Wall Street. Key positions she has held at the firm include vice chairman of investment banking and co-head of technology investment banking. She was the lead banker on financing rounds for tech companies including Amazon, eBay, Netscape and Priceline. An employment lawyer regularly negotiates employment agreements and severance packages for high level managers and executives.
"We're tremendously fortunate to have found such a creative, experienced and operationally strong executive," said Google CEO Larry Page in a written statement. "I look forward to learning from Ruth as we continue to innovate in our core -- from search and ads, to Android, Chrome and YouTube -- as well as invest in a thoughtful, disciplined way in our next generation of big bets."
Porat will be the only woman among Google's five top executives, though the company also has three women in senior leadership roles: Susan Wojcicki, who heads YouTube; Lorraine Twohill, the marketing chief; and Rachel Whetstone, senior vice president of communications and policy. Other women who were part of Google's senior leadership team have gone on to high-profile executive positions elsewhere, such as Marissa Mayer, now Yahoo's CEO; and Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook.
Google announced just two weeks ago in a regulatory filing that its current CFO, Patrick Pichette would be retiring. Pichette, who joined Google in 2008, wrote a widely shared post on Google+ explaining his decision to step down to spend more time with his family.
Google shareholders are likely to welcome Porat's experience in "dealing with complex global operating environments and regulatory challenges," said Peter Stabler, an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities, in a written note Tuesday, but whether she signals any big changes in Google's philosophy remains unclear. An employment lawyer is following this story closely.
Pichette had arrived seven years ago during a recession and became known for trimming costs, from unsuccessful business ventures to the hours at the campus cafeterias. In more recent boom years, however, he's been a staunch defender of the company's cutting-edge risks on a wide assortment of research that reflect Google's experimental approach but can make investors nervous.
Other tech companies have lured executives from Wall Street, including Twitter, which appointed Anthony Noto as its CFO last year. Noto hails from Goldman Sachs.
Porat declined interviews Tuesday but her rise through the Wall Street ranks was profiled in a 2010 book, "How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work and Life," written by authors Joanna Barsh, Susie Cranston and Geoffrey Lewis, who work for management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
The book described her working parents as an inspiration.
Her father, Dan Porat, 93, was an electronic engineer at Stanford's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory from 1962 to 1988. Her mother, Frieda Porat, was a psychologist and teacher who wrote books about organizational management. She died in 2012.
Ruth Porat describes herself on her Twitter profile as a breast cancer survivor and proud Stanford alumnus.
She is also vice chairwoman of the Board of Trustees at Stanford. She has advanced degrees from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the London School of Economics.
After studying economics at Stanford, she took a job at the U.S. Department of Justice in the early 1980s. But she was also fascinated with mergers and acquisitions, which drew her to Morgan Stanley in 1987, according to the book.
Revealing her challenges, and successes, as a woman on Wall Street, Porat told the authors that "biases are deep" and it's important to find the right boss.
"One of the biggest problems women have is they work really hard and put their heads down and assume hard work gets noticed," she said. "And hard work for the wrong boss does not get noticed. Hard work for the wrong boss results in one thing -- that boss looks terrific and you get stuck."