Is Google’s CFO departure a harbinger?

When I first heard Google’s CFO is retiring, I immediately thought of the day Gary Valenzuela, CFO of Yahoo! during the boom, retired. The obligatory “for family reasons” was given and few thought much of it.

Yahoo! tanked soon after Valenzuela’s announcement during the Q2 earnings release in 2000. News.com: Yahoo! beats street again as sales, traffic surge.

Separately, Yahoo! announced that Susan Decker, the former Global Head of Research at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette will replace Valenzuela as CFO.

In the release, company officials said Valenzuela will retire and July and work closely with Decker through this transition period.

Perhaps Valenzuela, 43, retired because he was exhausted from continually downplaying Yahoo!’s potential.

Last quarter, Valenzuela said Yahoo!’s extraordinary growth rates were “unsustainable.”

Googles CFO to retire by end of year – Yahoo News

Google Inc.s chief financial officer will retire by the end of the year, creating the most prominent job opening at the Internet search leader since it went public three years ago.
George Reyes departure as CFO, announced Tuesday, was unexpected â?? a development likely to stir speculation about his reasons for leaving a crucial job at one of the worlds most scrutinized companies.

At the time Valenzuela retired in 2000, crazy .com fly-by-nights were just starting to fold at exponential rates. Now we’re seeing the financial markets being rocked, a toll that will eventually be felt in the advertising market. Financial Services spent $272 million dollars in online advertising during July 2007, a figure that is almost twice as the next closest industry in terms of dollars spent. The source of that figure is Nielsen. Although that amount doesn’t include paid search and Yahoo! is more obviously exposed (unless I’ve only been dreaming of being harassed by dancing dinosaurs) I don’t think Google will be immune from a cut in a big financial services industry ad budget, particularly if it completes the Doubleclick acquisition. We’ll find out soon enough if this early retirement is a harbinger or he’s truly puckered out.

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