The executive dubbed "the most powerful woman on Wall Street" is set to become one of the most powerful women in Silicon Valley. Ruth Porat is leaving her CFO post at Morgan Stanley to take up the same role at Google.
The 57-year-old joined Morgan Stanley way back in 1987 and has been the chief financial officer since 2010. She will replace Patrick Pichette, who announced on March 10 that he was retiring in order to spend more time with his family.
According to Larry Page, Google's co-founder and CEO, Porat will begin her new post on May 26.
"We're tremendously fortunate to have found such a creative, experienced and operationally strong executive," said Page. "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."
The appointment is a boon for Google as Porat had been considered one of the likely successors to Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman. During the financial crisis, Porat was a key adviser to the government in its dealings with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and in 2013 was being considered for the role of deputy treasury secretary before she withdrew her name.
Despite spending her entire career to date with the bank, Porat is also no stranger to Silicon Valley. She studied at Stanford University and led Morgan Stanley's technology franchise during the Internet boom.
"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 said in a Google blogpost.
She will be replaced by 46-year-old Jonathan Pruzan. In response to the news, Google shares have risen 2.7 percent in morning trading and Morgan Stanley stock has dropped 0.7 percent.
It's a sign of the rise of Silicon Valley that Google can afford to poach one of the top Wall Street executives. Pichette's departing salary was more than double what Porat was getting at Morgan Stanley. According to public statements, Porat earned $29.6 million from 2010 to 2013 as CFO, whereas Pichette pocketed more than $62 million during the same period. Presumably, it is the promise of a similar paycheck, rather than the sunshine, that has drawn Porat to California.
Photo: Ruth Porat | Getty Images