Ruth Porat’s incredible journey from fighting breast cancer to becoming the CFO of the world’s most valuable company

Ruth Porat’s incredible journey from fighting breast cancer to becoming the CFO of the world’s most valuable company
The Siliconreview
30 August, 2018

Ruth Porat, born in 1957 to a Jewish family in Sale, Greater Manchester, England, is a British-American financial executive. She currently serves as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Alphabet Inc. and its child company, Google.

Her father, Dr. Dan Porat was a physicist by profession and mother, Frieda Porat worked as a psychologist. Porat has graduated from Stanford University, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and International Relations. She has an MS degree in Industrial Relations from London School of Economics and an MBA degree from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Porat started her career at Morgan Stanley in 1987, the year that witnessed the biggest one-day stock market plunge in the history of Wall Street. She worked at Morgan Stanley on and off for more than two decades and also earned herself the position of CFO and Executive Vice President of the company from January 2010 to May 2015. She joined Google as its new CFO on May 26, 2016. In addition to finance, she also handles Business Operations and Human Resource at Google. One of the highest paid females in tech; she was offered huge monetary benefits from Google for switching from Wall Street to Silicon Valley. Reportedly, she received a $70 million-plus cash and stock deal from Google. When Porat joined Google as its CFO, it was a huge setback for Wall Street as the departure of the most powerful woman was ought to leave the Wall Street in dismay.

She earned herself the reputation of being one of the most charismatic and influential financial decision-makers, but it was never a smooth sail for her. Porat was diagnosed with breast cancer twice, the first time in 2001 and then two years later. But nothing stopped the workaholic; she continued to work through her illness. "For me, going to work meant that I was in control of my life. The disease did not define me. And so in many respects work was a really important part of me being healthy,” her words mark her inner strength. She is known for her incredible work ethics. Porat has always preached a work-life “mix” theory instead of work-life balance. She quotes, “A satisfying work-life mix lets you shift priorities depending on needs of each, without ever having isolation between the two.”

There is no end to her awards and achievements in her role as a finance expert. Reportedly, in 2013, she was nominated as “Deputy Secretary of the Treasury” by the then U.S president Barack Obama but Porat asked to withdraw her name from the consideration. She was named “Best Financial Institutions CFO” in a poll conducted for “2014 All-America Executive Team”. In 2017, Forbes listed her as 25th most powerful women in the world.

Ruth Porat, a well-respected name in the tech is an amazing example of how women can lead the world, no matter the industry or obstacles!