One of Silicon Valley’s most prominent female executives is to step aside, after being in charge of the finances at Alphabet and Google since 2015.

Alphabet confirmed the CFO move in its second quarter financial report, which saw the search engine and cloud giant post a better than expected profit in the April to June period.

The results come after Google warned it could continue to reduce its real estate portfolio, which it expanded dramatically during the Covid-19 pandemic with multiple investments.

Financial results

In its latest financial results, Alphabet helped offset investor worries about the reduction in advertising spend following a robust few years during the pandemic.

For the second quarter ending 30 June, Alphabet posted a net profit of $18.4bn, up from $16bn in the same year-ago quarter.

Revenues for the quarter rose to $74.6bn from $69.7bn a year ago.

“There’s exciting momentum across our products and the company, which drove strong results this quarter,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google.

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai

“Our continued leadership in AI and our excellence in engineering and innovation are driving the next evolution of Search, and improving all our services,” said Pichai. “With fifteen products that each serve half a billion people, and six that serve over two billion each, we have so many opportunities to deliver on our mission.”

Drilling down into divisional performance of Alphabet revealed mixed results.

Google Search revenue rose to $42.6bn in the second quarter from $40.7bn in the same quarter in 2022.

YouTube ads revenue rose modestly to $7.7bn from $7.3bn a year earlier.

But Google Network revenue fell to $7.8bn from $8.3bn a year earlier.

Google Cloud did have good news however as revenue in that division rose to $8.1bn from $6.5bn a year ago.

The Other Bets division saw revenue rise to $285m from $193m.

Google said that after it had confirmed in January that it will cut 12,000 jobs (or 6 percent of its workforce), it recorded employee severance and related charges of $2bn for the six months since that announcement, with the “substantial majority” of those being laid off already gone.

Google also warned it is “taking actions to optimise our global office space” and it “may incur additional charges in the future as we further evaluate our real estate needs.”

CFO move

Alphabet in its Q2 earnings also confirmed that CFO Ruth Porat, one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent female executives, will step aside and assume another role at the tech giant.

Alphabet said that Ruth Porat will assume the newly created role of President and Chief Investment Officer of Alphabet and Google, effective 1 September.

In the meantime though, Porat will continue to serve as CFO, while the company searches for and selects her successor.

In her new role, Porat will continue to report to Sundar Pichai, although notably there was no reason given for the move.

Ruth Porat had assumed the role of CFO in May 2015 and is the company’s longest-serving CFO.

In her new role, Porat will be responsible for Alphabet’s investments in its Other Bets portfolio, and the company’s investments in countries and communities around the world.

“Ruth has worked to drive financial discipline and returns for shareholders, while spearheading investment to create sustainable, long-term value,” Pichai said. “As today’s results show, we’re making good progress and we’re committed to continuing this important work.”

“In her new role, Ruth will strengthen our collaboration with policy makers and shape our corporate investments to have maximum economic impact for people and economies around the world,” he said.

“I’m excited about this new role and the opportunity to engage with leaders globally to unlock economic growth via technology and investment,” said Porat.

“I’m committed to Google’s continued growth and ensuring that our diverse global investments are supported with strong partnership to create opportunities for people and communities, everywhere.”

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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