Google CFO Patrick Pichette to retire from internet giant

11 Mar 2015

Outgoing Google CFO Patrick Pichette

Google’s chief financial officer Patrick Pichette is to retire from the search giant. Pichette is a key member of Google’s leadership team alongside CEO Larry Page and chairman Eric Schmidt.

Pichette is credited with instilling financial discipline at Google amidst a time of rapid expansion into new areas, including driverless cars, smartphones, computers and even the ill-fated Google Glass project. The company makes revenues of more than US$66bn a year.

He is also credited with helping to sensitively guide Google’s HR evolution, from a feisty start-up with a handful of employees to a veritable army of 53,000 workers.

Future Human

In a Google+ post, Pichette said the decision to retire was prompted during a holiday that brought him and his wife to the peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro and she asked him would he not like to retire and explore the rest of Africa.

After detailing numerous commitments from Google to various non-profits, she asked: “So when is there going to be time?”

The question never left Pichette’s mind and after 1,500 weeks at Google and more than 25-30 years of non-stop work, Pichette has decided to hit the road, literally.

“Allow me to spare you the rest of the truths. But the short answer is simply that I could not find a good argument to tell Tamar we should wait any longer for us to grab our backpacks and hit the road – celebrate our last 25 years together by turning the page and enjoy a perfectly fine mid-life crisis full of bliss and beauty, and leave the door open to serendipity for our next leadership opportunities, once our long list of travels and adventures is exhausted.

“Working at Google is a privilege, nothing less. I have worked with the best of the best, and know that I am leaving Google in great hands. I have made so many friends at Google it’s not funny. Larry, Sergey, Eric, thank you for friendship. I am forever grateful for letting me be me, for your trust, your warmth, your support, and for so much laughter through good and not so good times.”

Carpe diem

Google confirmed Pichette’s decision to retire in an SEC filing, where it said the date of his departure has not been set. Pichette intends to assist in the search for a new CFO.

Pichette said he intends to transition after he helps the new CFO find his or her feet.

“In the end, life is wonderful, but nonetheless a series of tradeoffs, especially between business/professional endeavours and family/community. And thankfully, I feel I’m at a point in my life where I no longer have to have to make such tough choices anymore. And for that I am truly grateful. Carpe diem.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years