From one juggernaut to another: Lilly CFO Anat Ashkenazi takes same role at tech giant Alphabet

After 23 years at Eli Lilly, including the last three as its chief financial officer, Anat Ashkenazi is leaving to take the same role at a powerhouse company in a different industry.

Ashkenazi, 51, has been hired by tech giant Alphabet—the parent company of Google—to become its CFO.

Ashkenazi takes over for Ruth Porat, who has been Alphabet’s longest-tenured CFO since taking over the job in 2015. Porat, 66, has been filling two C-suite roles since September of last year when she also became the company’s chief investment officer.

“We’re very pleased to have found such a strong CFO, with a track record of strategic focus on long-term investment to fuel innovation and growth,” Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in a release. “The (artificial intelligence) era is giving us an incredible opportunity to innovate at scale across our core products, and to create entirely new products and experiences for our users and customers.”

The companies revealed Ashkenazi’s resignation and hire in separate announcements. Her appointment becomes effective at Alphabet on July 31. She will remain on board at Lilly until then, the company said, adding that an “internal and external search” for her successor is underway.

Ashkenazi helped build Indianapolis-based Lilly into the highest valued company in the biopharma industry. Now she moves from a firm that ranks No. 9 worldwide, with a market cap of $791 billion, to Mountain View, California-based Alphabet, which ranks No. 4 in the world, with a value of $2.15 trillion.

“Google’s growth and evolution over the last 25 years has been an incredible story, helping billions of people and millions of businesses around the world,” Ashkenazi said in the release. “Today, the opportunity for impact is greater than ever, and I feel honored to be joining Sundar and his leadership team as they invest for the company’s future at such an exciting moment.”

Ashkenazi comes to Alphabet as its financial organization is in transition. An internal memo, which came to light two months ago, alerted employees of a restructuring that will include layoffs and the relocations. The reorganization, which is facilitating AI initiatives, is centralizing financial operations.

Making the move will likely mean a significant pay hike for Ashkenazi, who made $7.6 million last year as Lilly’s third-highest paid exec. Meanwhile, at Alphabet last year—part of which she served in her dual role—Porat received $27.4 million. In 2022 as CFO, Porat was paid $24.4 million. Additionally last year, Alphabet paid two other C-suite executives $42 million each.

Ashkenazi, who holds an MBA from Tel Aviv University and a bachelor of arts in economics and business administration from Hebrew University, came to Lilly in 2001. She was the CFO of Lilly Research Laboratories before taking over as the company’s overall CFO in 2021.

“During her last three years as Lilly’s CFO, we have experienced tremendous growth and laid the groundwork to help us reach even more patients with our medicines,” Lilly CEO David Ricks said in a release. “I want to personally thank Anat for her partnership, friendship, and leadership of our financial organization and to wish her well in her new role.”