Google Adds Its First Ever African American Board Member


By Victor Ochieng

Google has announced the addition of economist Roger Ferguson to its board, which serves both the tech giant and its parent company, Alphabet. The move is historic in that Ferguson becomes the first ever Black to sit on the board.

It marks a major milestone for the tech giant in its determination to create diversity within its workforce.

USA Today reported that Ferguson will be working within Alphabet’s audit committee. Records indicate that he joins the board under Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat, bringing in extra discipline to Alphabet’s spending. The incorporation of Ferguson comes at a time the Internet giant is seeking to streamline its investments. The company has been known for its speculative spending on high reaching projects, including research into aging and investment in self driving cars.

“I’m so excited that Roger has agreed to join our Board,” said Alphabet board executive chairman Eric Schmidt, a former Google CEO. “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.”

A filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shows that the economist gets $1 million in equity grant.

Ferguson’s career has evidently been progressive, having started off at Davis Polk & Wardwell, LLP, as an attorney before joining McKinsey & Company as an associate partner, serving there for thirteen years. Back in 1999, Ferguson actively represented the Federal Reserve on several international policy platforms as Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors. He later worked with Swiss Re America Holding Corporation as Chairman before he was appointed Head of Financial Services in the executive committee of Swiss Re.

By 2008, Ferguson was appointed president and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA, a top provider of retirement services in research, cultural, academic and medical fields. He still serves as president and CEO of the company.

His new appointment comes as an addition to the boards he’s currently sitting on, including the American Council of Life Insurers, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Committee for Economic Development, International Flavors and Fragrances as well as the advisory board of Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP.

Ferguson is a former student of Harvard University, from where he earned a B.A. in economics, a doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in economics and a Doctor of Law Degree (J.D.).