On January 9, Google’s stock was at a historic low – at $290 per share – it spiked upward to $380 per share in mid-February before settling in at its current state at $340.
Now, that’s a lot of volatility, even in this wild stock market environment. But Google has a history of being Wall Street’s Wild Child, with war stories coming in from Silicon Valley about Google’s lax management structure, loose organizational style, and rampant eccentricities from staffers that have gone unrebuked by company executives.
Hey, when you’re as successful as Google, Bart Simpson could run the boardroom and the Web search giant would barely miss a beat.
Those heady days of radical chic may just be coming to an end, however. And that could be calming news for Google investors, who feel more jerked around than the guy down the hall with the three NCAA basketball pools during the first two days of March Madness.
Why? Because the “Ax Man” is starting to make a difference as CFO at Google. I’m talking about Patrick Pichette, the ex-COO at Bell Canada, the parent of Canada’s largest phone provider, and Google's new chief financial officer. Pichette worked wonders at BCE – cutting $2 billion worth of fat out of Bell Canada’s once-ample hide. Now he's taking dead aim at Google, which has plenty of fat to cut of its own.
Fortune Magazine has the inside scoop on Pichette’s tenure at Google, a company that the magazine calls “among the most chaotic, profligate, unfocused, engineering-oriented, and self-proclaimed recession-resistant of organizations.”
At Google, Pichette is changing the culture, cutting out perks like a gourmet cafeteria and gutting ambitious initiatives like Google’s Lively, a virtual-environment product that mimicked Second Life, and the shuttering of a failed acquisition, dMarc Broadcasting. Fortune points out that under Pichette’s regime, Google has undertaken its first-ever round of layoffs and has cut back dramatically on hiring new employees.
“All this might have happened, of course, without Pichette,” says Fortune. “Yet as Google confronts a climate in which its once otherworldly growth is merely impressive - revenues grew 18% in its most recent quarter - it has turned to someone ideally suited for the new reality. "Patrick was known for a close attention to details and an ability to drive efficiencies in the organization," says Jonathan Allen, a telecom analyst with RBC Capital Markets in Toronto.”
Consequently, the Axman is having a big impact on Google, and is going through all of the company’s myriad business lines, looking for more wood to chop. That’s got to be good news to Google investors, who finally see the benefits of having an adult in control of the company’s purse strings.
It’s a great read and Fortune does a thorough job shining the spotlight on Google’s new CFO. Read the whole thing at: http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/gigaom/big-tech/2009_03_16_intel_threatens_amds_right_to_make_chips.html