Finance expert Roger Ferguson has joined the board of Google parent Alphabet. He is the first African American to serve on the board of Google or Alphabet.(Photo: TIAA-CREF)
SAN FRANCISCO Google parent company Alphabet is adding finance chops and diversity to itsboard with the appointment ofeconomist Roger Ferguson.
Ferguson is the first African American to serve on the board of Alphabet and Google, marking a major milestone in Google's effort to bring more diversity to the technology industry.
Ferguson will serve on Alphabet's audit committee. With his appointment, he receives a $1 million equity grant, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
He joins the board as Alphabet under finance chief Ruth Porat bringsgreater spending discipline to the Internet giant known for its speculative "moonshot" projects such as self-driving cars and research into aging.
As president and CEO of financial services giant TIAA, Ferguson manages the retirement investments for university professors and employees from a variety of educational, medical, government and cultural institutions.Prior to TIAA, Ferguson was head of financial services for insurance company Swiss Re. He sat on the governing board of the Federal Reserve from 1997 to 2006, and for seven years was its vice chairman, the first African American in that position.
"He has a long record of distinguished and thoughtful service in the private and public sectors, and deeply understands how technology can improve the lives of people around the world," Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt said in a statement.
Two years ago, Google publicly addressed the gender and racial imbalance in the tech industry at large for the first time by disclosing the demographics of its workforce. At Google, seven out of 10 employees are men. Most employees are white (60%) and Asian (31%). Latinos make up 3% of the work force, African Americans 2%.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the tech industry lags industry averages in recruiting women and people of color.
Tech companies had more white employees (69%) than the average hired by all firms (64%) and more Asian-Americans (14% vs. 5.8%), according to an EEOC report based on 2014 data filed with the EEOC by private U.S. firms with 100 or more employees and federal contractors with 50 or more with federal contracts of $50,000 or more.
We commend Alphabet for appointing Roger Ferguson, their first African-American board member.Mr. Ferguson is a distinguished leader who can help lead Alphabet into the next era," said Rev. Jesse Jackson. "In 2015 we challenged Google to release their EEO-1 workforce report, and execute a comprehensive diversity and inclusion plan that reached not only to the workforce, but to their board room and C-suite leadership team.With todays appointment they have done just that."
Ferguson, who sits on the board of General Mills and International Flavor & Fragrances Inc., has technology chops.
A former partner at the consulting firm of McKinsey & Co., he managed investment in information-technology systems. At the Fed, he helped prevent Y2K computer problems.
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