Google-owner Alphabet is boosting finance chops on its board by adding TIAA CEO Roger Ferguson to its board.
As president and CEO of TIAA, Ferguson leads the financial institution (ranked 82 on the 2016 Fortune 500 list) that manages retirement investments for thousands of university professors and other employees of educational, medical, government, and cultural institutions. Prior his role at TIAA, Ferguson was head of financial services for insurance company Swiss Re. He was also was vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve from 1999 to 2006.
“I’m so excited that Roger has agreed to join our Board,” said former Google CEO and current executive chairman of Alphabet’s board, Eric Schmidt, in a statement. “He has a long record of distinguished and thoughtful service in the private and public sectors, and deeply understands how technology can improve the lives of people around the world.”
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Ferguson should bring more financial chops to the board as Alphabet (GOOGL) and its CFO, Ruth Porat, look to streamline how the tech corporation invests in many of its moonshot projects, such as self-driving cars and contact lenses that can measure blood sugar.
When Google restructured into Alphabet in 2015, the holding company created a more investor-friendly way to separate how the company reports its financial results. Previously, Google reported its ad revenue, the bulk of its business, in combination with sales from its riskier bets, such as connected thermostat business Nest as well as the aforementioned moonshots.
Now, Google discloses revenue and profits within two categories: Google (comprised of the core ad business as well as revenue from cloud, hardware, and Android), and “Other Bets” (sales from businesses like Nest, investment returns, small contributions from its Verily life sciences business, and the secretive X innovation lab, among other initiatives).
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Ferguson will be part of the board’s audit committee, joining existing board members such as former Pixar CFO Ann Mather as well as former president and CEO of Ford (F), Alan Mulally. He replaces venture capitalist and early Google investor John Doerr on the audit committee, according to a regulatory filing.
It’s also worth noting that Ferguson is also the first African-American appointed to Alphabet’s board. Google, along with other Silicon Valley companies, have been publicizing recent bolstered efforts to promote diversity within the tech industry. Last year, Google pledged to spend $150 million on programs both inside and outside its company. This week, the search giant announced that it would house non-profit Black Girls Code at its New York office.