Fortune

Google GETS DISCIPLINED

THE SEARCH-ENGINE BEHEMOTH HAS SPENT BILLIONS IN THE QUEST FOR ITS NEXT HIT. NOW WALL STREET VETERAN RUTH PORAT HAS COME ABOARD TO HELP GOOGLE—AND ITS PARENT COMPANY, ALPHABET—GET MORE BANG FOR THE BUCK. CAN SHE GET THEIR “SMART CREATIVES” TO FALL IN LINE?
FINANCIAL ENGINEER Porat led Google’s reorganization under the holding company Alphabet last year; since she joined the company in May 2015, its stock price has risen more than 40%.

SUBFREEZING TEMPERATURES didn’t stop Ruth Porat from setting out for her beloved spinning class. But black ice kept her from getting there. Early one Sunday in January 2015, Porat slipped and fell near her home on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, shattering her left shoulder blade. After she rushed to an emergency room, doctors told her she would need immediate surgery.

Wrong answer. Porat was the chief financial officer of Morgan Stanley, whose annual earnings call was two days away. Instead of going under the knife, she went to her office, arm in a sling. Porat refused painkillers, saying they would impair her judgment, and put in two long workdays before the Tuesday morning call.

Only after that did she go in for surgery—driving straight from the office to the hospital. But within days she was back in Midtown Manhattan, explaining the company’s results to Morgan Stanley’s board. “We could all see her hand was very swollen and black and blue,” recalls Hutham Olayan, a senior executive at Saudi conglomerate Olayan Group and a longtime board member. But Porat “was presenting as if nothing had happened.”

Porat’s shoulder remained painful for months, but it didn’t keep her from traveling. A few weeks after the accident, she flew to California on a trip that helped her land one of the most prominent and difficult jobs in technology—becoming CFO at Google and helping the tech giant transform itself as it approaches

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