Ruth Porat has the capacity to work hard. When Porat was working with the Federal Reserve to help save insurer AIG in 2008 she worked through the night. As a young M&A banker at Morgan Stanley in the mid-90s, she put in standard 80 hour weeks. When she got cancer in 2001, her boss suggested she continue coming into the office because (to quote Porat), “He knew how much I loved to work.” Porat has three sons, but she hasn’t sacrificed her career to motherhood: “They have been integrated into Morgan Stanley throughout their lives,” she said last July.
Now Porat is taking that work ethic to Silicon Valley. She will no longer be CFO at Morgan Stanley: she will be CFO at Google instead.
Cue reflections that investment banks are losing their kudos to tech firms which allow you to come to work in a Kaftan.
Is it really so weird for a work-hungry member of the global financial elite to migrate to Silicon Valley though? Especially if, like Porat, your skills are ‘transferable.’ The working ethos in the two sectors is eminently similar – if anything a Google will work you even harder than a Goldman Sachs.
Google’s last CFO, Patrick Pichette, joked that he belonged to the ‘Noble Fraternity of Worldwide Insecure Over-Achievers.’ As such, Pichette said that he’d worked at a “frenetic pace for about 1,500 weeks’ and that he’d barely seen his wife during 25 years of marriage.
Pichette is now off to travel the world. Another Worldwide Insecure Over-Achiever was needed to replace him. And where better to find one that on Wall Street?