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New Google CFO and ex-Canadian trims spending, enjoys weather

October 20, 2008 | 12:29 pm

New Google CFO Patrick PichetteLast week, Google's new chief financial officer, Patrick Pichette, made the Internet search giant shine at a time when many expected it to stumble.

The pleasant surprise for investors was the company's uncharacteristically grown-up response to the spreading economic crisis: a tight grip on expenses.

Google searched for 10 months before landing Pichette, a 46-year-old Canadian telecommunications veteran. Before the quarterly earnings report, Pichette reflected on his new gig in an interview with Canadian Business.

Pichette allows that "everybody is going to expect the occasional 'oops' at Google, because we're fast prototyping, we're always changing." But he says he's "pushing to make sure all the resources are used efficiently, that you feed the winners, starve the losers."

Gulp. No more free food?

Job No. 1? Compliance. "You make sure the corporation's protected, no one goes to jail, everything is in order," he said. No jail time? Definitely a positive.

Then, he said, a good CFO makes sure the company doesn't run out of money. Fat chance with those beaucoup bucks.

As for life in Silicon Valley versus Montreal? Pichette takes his daughter to school and bikes to work. He wears jeans, not suits. Everyone is really smart. And you don't have to be at your desk to answer a question. Ah, the miracles of technology.

The best part? Duh, the weather.

"Every day, I get up and look at the sky and it’s slightly cloudy at 8 a.m; and by 11 a.m., it’s sunny and 80 degrees. Every day," Pichette said. "So I am adapting pretty well, thank you."

-- Jessica Guynn