Google appoints Hollywood longtimer to board

Google has added a corporate finance specialist with deep ties to the entertainment industry to its board of directors, the company announced Tuesday.

Ann Mather, who was executive vice president and chief financial officer for Pixar Animation Studios between 1999 and 2004, joined Google's board of directors on Nov. 22 and also will chair Google's audit committee.

At Pixar, her responsibilities included finance, administration, business affairs, investor relations and human resources. Additionally, she served as Pixar's main contact with The Walt Disney Co. for distribution matters related to the two companies' co-production agreement.

Mather is currently on the board of directors of Central European Media Enterprises, which, along with partners, operates 10 television stations in six countries in Central and Eastern Europe. She also serves on its audit and compensation committees.

She was a Shopping.com director from May 2004 until that company was acquired by eBay in 2005. She chaired Shopping.com's audit committee and belonged to its corporate governance and nominating committee.

With Disney in the 1990s, Mather held various executive jobs, including senior vice president of finance and administration for the company's Buena Vista International Theatrical Division. Mather also worked for Paramount Pictures in the 1980s in London, Amsterdam and New York.

It is interesting to see Google, whose staff is extremely heavy on technologists, add a board member with a media background, said Philip Remek, a financial analyst with Guzman & Co. The move is consistent with Google's yet unrealized intention to diversify its revenue stream, which is heavily dependent on paid search ads, with branded/display ads, he said. Rival Yahoo, for example, gets revenue both from paid search and branded/display ads, he said.

"The display or branded advertising market is more of a media-oriented area," Remek said. "[For that reason] it makes sense for Google to add more media industry people to their executive ranks and to the board. It underlines its intent to diversify its business more like a Yahoo model."

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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