Ruth Porat left her post as the chief financial officer of Morgan Stanley to join Google in the same role.
Porat was the most powerful woman on Wall Street. She was well positioned to be the first woman to run one of the major banks.
With her going to Google, the question becomes: Will there be a female CEO at a major Wall Street investment bank any time soon?
While there’s certainly been a discussion about the lack of women in tech, there’s even fewer women in top level positions on Wall Street. There’s never been a female CEO of a bulge bracket bank and with Porat’s departure the list just got shorter.
Porat, who has been Morgan Stanley’s CFO since January 2010, was seen one of the possible candidates to succeed CEO James Gorman. There was never an official race inside the bank, but insiders believed that either Porat or Greg Fleming, who runs asset/wealth management, or Colm Kelleher who runs banking/trading, were the heirs apparent.
Porat, 57, joined Morgan Stanley in 1987 serving in a number of different roles, including the global head of the Financial Institutions Group and as vice chair of the Investment Bank. She’s also a veteran tech banker having advised clients such as Priceline.com, eBay, and Amazon during their initial public offerings.
One Wall Streeter who knows Porat said that she’s “well-respected on the Street.”
After the 2008 financial crisis, Porat had served as a major liaison between Morgan Stanley and the regulators in Washington, D.C.
A CFO is a CFO, but what they do is what really matters, a Wall Streeter pointed out. Porat being the main liaison with the firm and regulators made her stand out.
It was also reported that in 2013 Obama was considering Porat for a top spot at the U.S. Treasury Department. That was a good sign because someone who could build bridges between Wall Street and Washington would bee seen as valuable.
Porat will begin her new role at Google in May.
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