Google names Bell Canada exec as its new CFO

Google Inc on Wednesday named Patrick Pichette, president of operations at Bell Canada, as its new chief financial officer, replacing CFO George Reyes after a nearly year-long search.

Pichette, a 20-year veteran of Canada's telecommunications industry, including stints as a McKinsey consultant, starts at the Internet leader on August 1 and will take over as chief financial officer on August 12, Google said in a statement.

Last August, Reyes said he would retire as Google's finance chief, following a bumpy five-year ride in which he was charged with managing the Web search company's ferocious growth while upholding a policy of refusing to give financial forecasts.

Over the last seven years, Pichette was instrumental in moving Bell Canada, Canada's largest communications network, from traditional circuit-switched technology to an all Internet protocol network. In 2002-2003, he served as CFO of Bell Canada, the operating unit of BCE Inc, Google said.

Pichette was one of two senior executives to announce their departure on Wednesday from BCE, which is in the midst of a shaky $34 billion takeover by private equity groups led by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. Merger specialist L. Scott Thomson also joined Talisman Energy Inc as its CFO.

Prior to joining BCE, Pichette was a lead member of McKinsey's North American Telecom Practice. Between 1994 and 1996, Pichette was chief financial officer of Call-Net Enterprises, which competed with Bell Canada as the country's telecommunications monopoly was opened up over the 1990s.

Besides his background in telecoms, Pichette is chairman of the Canadian chapter of Engineers Without Borders, which organizes engineers to take part in grassroots energy and irrigation projects in developing nations in Africa and Asia.

Now in his mid-40s, he took an undergraduate degree in business administration at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal and a masters from Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

Reyes, a veteran Silicon Valley executive, worked largely out of the public spotlight of the company led by co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and its chairman and chief executive, Eric Schmidt. He helped spearhead Google's initial public offering in 2004. The stock is up five-fold since then.

Reyes is a member of the board of directors of software maker Symantec Corp and last month said he would join the board of LifeLock Inc, a private, venture capital-backed firm offering identity theft protection services.

Through a spokesman, Reyes declined to comment on his future plans. Reyes will take part in Google's second-quarter earnings report in July, the spokesman confirmed.

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