Google: the search is over

The credit crunch may be taking its toll on many financiers’ bonuses, but
Google’s latest hire in the finance department won’t have to worry about nasty
surprises in his pay packet.

In fact, Patrick Pichette, who Google has just named as their new CFO and
vice president, will receive $500,000 (£252,000) just for signing his employment
contract, not to mention a further bonus of the same amount if he survives just
six months at the Googleplex.

What’s happened?

Speculation abounds on why it took Google so long to replace the outgoing
George Reyes, who announced his retirement last August, but one thing’s now
become clear – it wasn’t because they were offering a bad package. Along with
the initial bonuses, Google will pay Pichette a base salary of $450,000
(£227,000) with a discretionary bonus of 150%.

And if Reyes’ parting fortune – estimated at about $300m by the time he has
disposed of all his Google shares – is anything to go by, Pichette stands to
profit handsomely from his career move.

What’s going to happen?

Google’s decision to go with a relative unknown – Pichette is not only a
Silicon Valley outsider but a Canadian to boot – has surprised some, but it may
be a clear indication of where the company is headed.

Pichette moves to Google from his role as president of operations at Bell
Canada Enterprises (BCE), Canada’s largest phone carrier, and brings to the
search giant almost 20 years experience in the communications sector.
At BCE, he oversaw management of the network’s migration to an IP-based
infrastructure, experience that would come in handy, if, say, Google was looking
to expand into mobile phone technology.

But will Pichette fit in at Google, with its quirky workplace culture and ‘do
no evil’ mantra? According to BCE CEO Michael Sabia, Pichette took his three
teenagers to a village in Zambia for spring break last year. Not for a safari
or tourism though, rather just to see what it was like to ‘hang out’ in a place
with no running water and locals who spoke no English. So it seems he has the
eccentric personality needed to succeed at Google.

Pichette will start at Google’s Mountain View offices on August 1, and after
a brief period as a general ‘noogler’ will take over as CFO on August 12.

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