Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Google's Shareholders Should Thank Patrick Pichette (and Shona Brown)

Google's (GOOG) investors quickly cheered yesterday's earnings out of the gate in the after-hours, bidding the shares up to $410 -- they've since fallen back to $385. We'll see what they do today in the broader session.

The reason for the fall back in share price? After initial investor euphoria over a top and bottom line beat and increase over a year ago, some cautious macro comments from Eric Schmidt and perhaps the announcement of the moving on of one-time sales rock star, Omid Kordestani, gave investors pause. Still, the results are impressive.

What GOOG shareholders should be thankful for is the hatchet the company took to expenses and cost rationalization. Trimming jobs and other expenses -- previously not a GOOG strength -- helped profit climb almost 9% from a year ago to $1.42B. $110MM here, $110MM there: it starts to add up over time.

Shareholders should directly thank Patrick Pichette, the new CFO who came over last summer after cooly and calmly driving costs out of Bell Canada in his previous stint. Pichette was clearly brought in with a mandate -- and he's delivering.

And if you want to thank the person for bringing in Pichette, thank Shona Brown, GOOG's SVP of Business Ops. Brown -- a Canadian like Pichette -- also was a McKinsey consultant in her former life, just like him.

Originally published in on 4/17/2009 8:04 AM EDT

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