When Google’s CFO, George Reyes, announced his retirement last August, the company expected to fill his shoes by year-end. Reyes is still there, however, and the company synonymous with Web search — not to mention online advertising, satellite imaging, a growing family of Web-based applications, and so much more — seems to be stalled in its quest for a new CFO.
Google is taking “as much time as necessary to find the right person,” says spokesman Jon Murchinson. But it seems the hottest company in Silicon Valley doesn’t appeal to every CFO.
Rumor has it that two public-company CFOs have already turned down the position. (Google declined to comment on this.) Part of the issue may be environmental: Scott Simmons of executive search firm Crist Associates says California’s culture can be polarizing, so convincing candidates to relocate there can be a tough sale. Plus, with Google’s $182 billion market cap and a stock price near $600 a share, any would-be successor can’t help but think, “Am I going to be at the helm when this goes soft?” says Simmons.
“The financial opportunity that one would associate with Google is not as strong as it used to be,” adds analyst Greg Sterling of Sterling Market Intelligence. Moreover, despite Google’s reputation for innovation, “the CFO [there] probably has the most buttoned-down role,” he adds.
Others believe Google is justified in taking its sweet time because the job simply isn’t easy to fill. “It’s the biggest, most important company in the technology universe, and finding someone with the skills to propel the company into its next phase of growth is certainly challenging,” says Banc of America Securities analyst Brian Pitz.
If you’re interested, stand outside and hold your résumé up to the sky: maybe Google Earth will spot you.