Patrick Pichette, Google’s chief financial officer, is retiring to spend more time with his family. Seriously. On Tuesday Mr. Pichette announced the news of his retirement on Google’s social network, Google Plus. Then, in what Google’s chief executive, Larry Page, described as “a most unconventional leaving notice” he tried to convince the cynics that he is, indeed, retiring to spend more time with his family.
“We give a lot to our jobs,” he wrote, adding: “And while I am not looking for sympathy, I want to share my thought process because so many people struggle to strike the right balance between work and personal life.”
For the last seven years, Mr. Pichette, 52, has been the primary liaison between Google and Wall Street, serving as the search giant’s chief defender against analysts who have been needling the company to do things like spend less money on “moonshots” or give shareholders some of their cash back.
In the company’s latest conference call, for instance, he repeatedly defended Google’s speculative investment spending – which range from biotech to self-driving cars – as “disciplined.” He said the company did not have any immediate plans to issue a dividend to shareholders, but also didn’t rule it out. And, for analysts who needed the reassurance, he noted that Google’s stock price “does matter” to its managers.
Mr. Pichette’s goodbye letter was touching, adventurous and completely outside the experience of 99 percent of the world’s population. On Google Plus, he wrote that the process that led to his decision to retire began in September. He was watching the sunrise from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro when his wife suggested they continue traveling the world.