Wall Street’s most powerful woman jumps to Google


A statue at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, shows the Android mascot seemingly rendered in KitKat bars.

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Wall Street just lost its brightest female star to Silicon Valley.

After nearly three decades at Morgan Stanley, Ruth Porat revealed plans on Tuesday to join Google as its new chief financial officer. That instantly makes Porat one of the most powerful women in the tech world.

Porat was already known as the most powerful woman on Wall Street, an industry that has yet to see its first female CEO. She played a pivotal role during the financial crisis of 2008, leading the Morgan Stanley teams that advised the government on the bailouts of AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Women are vastly underrepresented in senior management positions in Corporate America. Only 14.2% of the top five leadership positions at the companies in the S&P 500 are held by women, according to a CNNMoney analysis.

That number is even lower in finance, where just 13% of those top jobs are held by women.

Porat is no stranger to the tech world. She grew up in Silicon Valley and later led Morgan Stanley’s tech banking franchise during the Internet boom. That means she was the lead banker on countless milestone technology rounds, including ones for Amazon, eBay, Netscape and Priceline.

“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 said in a statement.

The hire represents a big coup for Google. Earlier this month the company announced the surprise resignation of Patrick Pichette, who said he is leaving to “enjoy a perfectly fine midlife crisis full of bliss and beauty.”

Porat will take over for Pichette as Google’ CFO on May 26, giving her control of the finances at a company that has a whopping $64 billion in cash on its balance sheet. Shares of Google rallied 2% on Tuesday.

Morgan Stanley said Porat will continue in her CFO role through the end of April and then be replaced by Jonathan Pruzan, who is currently co-head of the firm’s global financial institutions group.

“Ruth’s work has been instrumental in putting Morgan Stanley on our front foot again,” Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman wrote in a memo to employees. “It is with a heavy heart that we see her go.”

By Matt Egan

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