By Nina Trentmann
Blackstone Group Inc. named Ruth Porat, Google’s finance chief, to its board of directors, a move that comes as the Wall Street firm shifts toward technology and growth investments.
Ms. Porat joined Google as chief financial officer in May 2015 and took on the same responsibility at its parent company, Alphabet Inc., later that year. Ms. Porat had previously spent 27 years with Morgan Stanley, where she led investing giant Blackstone’s initial public offering in 2007.
Blackstone, one of the world’s largest real-estate investors, in recent quarters expanded its footprint in areas such as warehousing and logistics. Those industries are set to benefit from consumers’ shift toward more online shopping — a trend that has been exacerbated by local store closures aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The company also ramped up its investments in fast-growing online and technology businesses such as dating app Bumble and health-care software company HealthEdge.
With her roles at Google and Alphabet, Ms. Porat is adding important knowledge to Blackstone’s board, said Kevin Rippey, co-head of internet research at investment bank Evercore Inc. “Google is probably the primary catalyst for selling goods online,” Mr. Rippey said. “Ms. Porat sits at the intersection of tech and finance.”
Ms. Porat has been running “one of the most influential tech companies” and gained key insights into institutional finance, said Mark Shmulik, a senior analyst at brokerage firm Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. She played a key role in reining in Alphabet’s spending amid the pandemic, Mr. Shmulik said.
Blackstone Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Schwarzman said Ms. Porat would be a valuable asset to the company’s board.
“She possesses a deep understanding of the financial services industry from her years on Wall Street and has had a front row seat in Silicon Valley to the technological revolution that is sweeping the world,” Mr. Schwarzman said in a statement Thursday.
Ms. Porat declined to comment.
Women now hold three of Blackstone’s 12 board sets, boosting female representation to 25%.
The company also is making changes to how it recruits junior employees, focusing on on-campus activities to bring in more candidates directly from schools. Blackstone will recruit from over 40 schools this academic year, including historically black colleges and universities and women’s colleges.
— Colin Kellaher and Miriam Gottfried contributed to this article.
Write to Nina Trentmann at Nina.Trentmann@wsj.com