In the midst of a gender discrimination lawsuit that is rocking Silicon Valley, Google has announced that Ruth Porat, co-leader of Morgan Stanley’s technology investment banking, will be joining the tech giant as CFO in May.
Porat has been dubbed the most powerful woman on Wall Street and is no stranger to technology high finance, having been the lead banker on IPOs for the likes of Amazon, eBay, Netscape, and Priceline. Porat says she’s, “had the opportunity to experience first hand how tech companies can help people in their daily lives” and can’t wait to get started. Though not a technologist, Porat grew up in Silicon Valley and sits on the board of Stanford University, her alma mater, so her move to Google is a homecoming of sorts.
Could this hiring decision be a harbinger of increased diversity at the tech behemoth? Last year, in an address to the Japan Society in New York City, Porat bemoaned that, “Women are still not reaching the most senior levels of corporations,” and continued to say, “This is not the shortcoming of women. We’re talented and smart.”
GoDaddy’s CEO Blake Irving, whose company claims just 18 percent of its workforce to be female, is attempting to bolster that message with his support of the forthcoming documentary, CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap. The full-length film will premier next month at the Tribeca Film Festival. It is meant to empower American women and minorities to pursue education and careers in the booming field of computer science.
Google, whose employment ranks currently sit at 30 percent female, was among the tech companies that willingly opened itself up to interviews and investigation by the film’s producers.
Porat is one of several C-level executives to recently make the move from Wall Street to the Valley, including Anthony Noto, who made the move last year from Goldman Sachs to Twitter. Google’s stock rose 2 percent in response to the hiring announcement, with shareholders expecting Porat’s banking chops to bring greater financial discipline to the company while still encouraging creative investment in the innovative ventures for which Google is known.