Google awards $5 million signing bonus, $65 million in stock, to new CFO Ruth Porat

Google is awarding a $5 million signing bonus to its newly hired chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, a longtime Morgan Stanley executive who is leaving Wall Street for Silicon Valley in May, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Says a letter to Porat from Laszlo Bock, Google’s head of people operations (what other companies call HR):

Google will pay you a one-time Sign-On Bonus of Five Million Dollars ($5,000,000), less applicable deductions and tax withholding, within thirty (30) days following your start date at Google. Should your employment with Google end within your first twelve (12) months of employment, you agree to repay the Sign-On Bonus on a pro-rated basis. We encourage you to consult a tax professional for information on all current IRS reporting requirements. You are not eligible for a regular annual bonus.

That’s on top of Porat’s $650,000 salary, plus $25 million the company will grant her in stock this year and another $40 million in stock next year.

That package is in line with Porat’s high-caliber peers at the few companies that share Google’s size and scope, said one San Francisco executive compensation consultant.

“Google has a reputation for attracting the best and brightest in the world to those jobs,” said Frank Glassner, chief executive officer of Veritas Executive Compensation Consultants. “They certainly have attracted a Wall Street superstar.”

In addition to being the CFO, Porat brings a strong background in investment banking that could help Google in its start-up acquisitions, Glassner said.

Google also said in its SEC filing that it will eliminate annual cash bonuses to executives beginning next year in favor of equity bonuses that will vest more gradually.

“That really communicates a message to senior executives and shareholders that we’re all in this boat together,” Glassner said.

Above: Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Morgan Stanley Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Ruth Porat and former House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) participate in a panel discussion at the Brookings Institution March 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. The institution hosted a series of lectures and discussions as party of a program called “The Fed in the 21st century: Independence, governance, and accountability.” (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


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