5 cool things to know about Google's first female CFO, Ruth Porat
Earlier this week, it was announced that Ruth Porat will be Google’s new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), proving the company is honoring its promise to always hire “outstanding women who want to do cool things that matter for the rest of the world.” As Google’s first woman CFO, this news is a huge deal. Currently, Porat is CFO of Wall Street powerhouse Morgan Stanley, where she started and has spent most of her career, with the exception of a brief stint at Smith Barney (now Morgan Stanley Wealth Management).
“I’m delighted to be returning to my California roots and joining Google,” Porat said in Google’s statement Tuesday. “Growing up in Silicon Valley, during my time at Morgan Stanley and as a member of Stanford’s Board, I’ve had the opportunity to experience first hand how tech companies can help people in their daily lives. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get started.”
Porat is more than qualified to take over the position (from Patrick Pitchette, Google’s current CFO), and she brings a wealth of experience to the table. But she’s also a mom of three and a wife and just an all around badass, impressive human being — and we think the world needs to know just how awesome she is. Here are just a few cool things to know about Google’s new CFO!
1. She’s been called “the most powerful woman on Wall Street” (with good reason)
Porat’s done some impressive things during her tenure at Morgan Stanley, perhaps most notably advising the United States Department of the Treasury during the 2008 financial crisis regarding Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the New York Federal Reserve. It was even rumored that President Obama wanted to nominate her for the next Deputy Secretary of Treasury in 2013, but reportedly, Porat asked her name to be withdrawn from consideration ( . . . because she was too busy hustling elsewhere).
“I think what Sheryl Sandberg said about the importance of ‘leaning in’ is very true but it’s not sufficient,” Porat told Politico, “Because if you are leaning in to a door that is nailed shut, you are just going to get bloodied and tired of trying to push that door open. So you have got to have the next level, which is, ‘How do you open up those doors to the ever-bigger roles?'”
If Porat’s career is any indication, the answer is probably by kicking those doors down.
2. She has two Master’s Degrees
Porat holds a Master of Science Degree from the London School of Economics and a Master of Business Administration Degree from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. Not that it matters, but they happen to be two of the highest ranked business schools in the world — as if just having one wasn’t already impressive enough!
3. She is a breast cancer survivor — and very outspoken about it
In 2010, Porat did a video for Big Think’s series on what survivors of cancer learned from their experiences. What she said was honest and inspiring, and the video is well worth a watch.
“Unfortunately, too many of us are touched by cancer,” she said. “I would say it’s very important to reach out and get an understanding of it from those who have been through it . . . The next thing is be true to yourself. For me, going to work meant that I was in control of my life. The disease did not define me.”
4. She’s extremely supportive of other women
Porat was a big supporter of Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Presidential Election (she even hosted a fundraiser with her husband!). No matter what your politics are, you have to admit that powerful ladies supporting other powerful ladies always kind of warms the soul. And she’s equally supportive of helping women just starting out, as well.
“Women weren’t as collaborative and I think mutually supportive as they are now [when I first started],” Porat told Politico. “And when I was coming up through the ranks, running small businesses, I felt it was important to do, and it [should be a] part of coaching and training women as they came up through the ranks.”
5. She works as hard as she can, because that’s what she wants to do
Yes, the whole working/maternity leave conversation is an important and contentious one — but the New York Times did note that Porat was taking work calls from the delivery room when her son was born. If that isn’t a case of “Who run the world?!”, then I don’t know what is. It should be noted that Porat is extremely vocal about the fact that she believes in creating the perfect work-life “mix,” rather than work-life “balance.” This is what works best for her and her family — and she continued working from the hospital not out of obligation to her job, but because that’s what she wanted to do. Totally awesome and respectable.
So congratulations on the new position! We love seeing women take on the world.