Google Tightens Its Belt As Company Growth Slows

Report says new hires must be justified in terms of strategic objectives.


Long known for its lavish benefits and liberal hiring, Google is tightening its belt as it matures and revenue growth slows. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is reporting that the company is “curbing hiring and seeking ways to run its sprawling empire more efficiently.”

Institutional investors have frequently expressed concern about hiring and costs at the company. Now incoming CFO Ruth Porat is reportedly leading an expansive internal initiative looking at costs, revenue and accounting issues. Porat will make her first “public” appearance as CFO on Google’s earnings call Thursday afternoon.

Specifically, the WSJ reports that hiring has slowed and internally now must be justified in terms of strategic business objectives including new revenues. Google has a total of just over 55,000 employees globally.

The most interesting part of the WSJ article concerns the corporate model that Google may be seeking to emulate — Berkshire Hathaway:

Mr. Page said he looks to Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the insurance-focused conglomerate run by billionaire Warren Buffett, as a model for how to run a large, complex company, according to people who were at the meeting. Mr. Buffett has a cadre of CEOs running operating companies and doles out capital from the holding company to these businesses based on their performance each year.

About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.

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