When Larry and Sergey hired away Morgan Stanley's CFO Ruth Porat in May, the common thinking was that she would provide sage Wall Street counsel to the powerful bros in the boardroom.
Well, just a few months later it appears that Porat's gig has been less "offering advice" and more "running sh!t."
Yesterday's news that Google will reorganize under a newly-created umbrella company called Alphabet is the latest of cold-water-in-your-face subtle hints that Porat is now a very potent force in Mountain View.
The idea of splitting up Google's wildly profitable search and ad business from its other pursuits - like driverless cars and human immortality - is akin to injecting steroids into Google's P/E ratio. It is A) The kind of thing that Silicon Valley doesn't really do, and B) The kind of thing that Ruth Porat can think up in her sleep.
Porat has been popular among Google watchers from day one and capitalized on those good vibes by driving down costs from the moment she hit the front door, presenting the company's investors with a Q2 2014 to remember. The new Alphabet soup structure will almost surely give analysts a lot to parse through and praise in Q4.
Forgive us for making bold assumptions, but this kind of thinking does not come naturally to Larry and Sergey. You can see Ruth here in everything from the ABC to the XYZ.
We're not saying that Porat is responsible for the Sesame Street-like name of the new company, but we are saying that she is the person almost wholly responsible for its existence. And it's not like we're making some kind of cognitive leap here.
Porat is not new to the big ideas sector. At Morgan, she was a financial crisis advisor to the government regarding what-in-the-hell they should do with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG. Suffice it to say, Ruth has pondered a restructuring or two in her day, and the notion of executing one at a healthy company must have felt like Lindsay Vonn racing down the bunny slope.
Inevitably, many Valley folk will begin to see the Google re-org as yet another tech economy invention. Citigroup will hear those claims and think "Adorable," while many others will simply shake their heads and mutter "Touche, Porat."
They will also smirk at how Porat is now indispensable at Google. Alphabet is the kind of major Wall Street-y move that everyone thought we would get from Anthony Noto at Twitter and haven't yet. While he tries to work Twitter backwards out of a downhill tumble, Porat is now "advising" an enormous company into its new life as a bona-fide tech conglomerate.
Y'know, the one she created.