Investor Relations

New CFO’S Hand Seen in Google Restructuring

Google's new focus on shareholder transparency may be largely due to CFO Ruth Porat, analysts say.
Matthew HellerAugust 11, 2015
New CFO’S Hand Seen in Google Restructuring

Google has announced a major restructuring of its sprawling operations, a surprise move to improve transparency that media observers credited to new CFO Ruth Porat.

As part of the reconfiguration, a new parent company named Alphabet Inc. will replace Google as the publicly traded entity, with Google’s core search business and its new ventures such as Calico and Nest being managed separately.

“Google’s move is the most significant step by a Silicon Valley giant to get a handle on the sprawl of businesses that it has entered, an issue that increasingly afflicts other technology companies like Facebook and Amazon,” The New York Times said.

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The restructuring will also provide investors with more financial transparency, making it easier to “get a sense of how Google’s core business is doing,” the Times explained.

Porat, a Wall Street veteran who took over as Google CFO in May, promised more disclosures for the company during her inaugural earnings call with analysts after second-quarter results. “I’m committed to being direct with you,” she said.

“I sense Ruth Porat’s hand very firmly behind this move to create a more transparent Google,” Forbes contributor Jay Somaney said, noting that she “knows exactly what investors are looking for and what the Street is looking for.”

Dealbreaker, meanwhile, said splitting up Google’s businesses “is akin to injecting steroids into Google’s P/E ratio. It is A) The kind of thing that Silicon Valley doesn’t really do, and B) The kind of thing that Ruth Porat can think up in her sleep.”

“We’re not saying that Porat is responsible for the Sesame Street-like name of the new company, but we are saying that she is the person almost wholly responsible for its existence,” it added.

As Bloomberg reports, Google has traditionally been stingy with details about its performance, which has frustrated investors since it first went public in 2004. The greater level of transparency should give investors a better way to value the company, analyst Sameet Sinha of B. Riley & Co. said, with the core business getting a higher multiple based on its higher profitability.