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Patrick Pichette, Google CFO, Resigns For The Most Inspiring Reason

03/12/2015 01:49 EDT | Updated 03/12/2015 01:59 EDT
AP
Patrick Pichette, chief financial office of Google, claps after an announcement at in Kansas City, Kan., Wednesday, March 30, 2011. After seeing Facebook pleas and flash mobs, and even cities temporarily renaming themselves "Google," the search engine giant said Wednesday it has chosen Kansas City, Kan., as the first place that will get its new ultra-fast broadband network. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

When Montreal-born Google executive Patrick Pichette returned to work after a climbing trip to Mount Kilimanjaro, he couldn't escape something his wife asked him.

After making it to the summit of Africa's highest mountain, the chief financial officer's wife Tamar suggested they keep going — to India, Mount Everest and beyond.

Pichette, 52, told her he had to return to work, that it wasn't time for such a trip when there was so much left for him to do at the tech giant.

Then she put it to him: if not now, when?

The question kept gnawing at him when he returned to work. And eventually, he gave in to it.

Pichette is leaving the Silicon Valley company he joined from Bell Canada in 2008 so that he and his wife Tamar can "grab our backpacks and hit the road," he related in a lengthy post on his Google+ account Tuesday. He's taking what appears to be a long-term break, at least for the time being.

"[We'll] celebrate our last 25 years together by turning the page and enjoy a perfectly fine mid life crisis full of bliss and beauty, and leave the door open to serendipity for our next leadership opportunities, once our long list of travels and adventures is exhausted," he wrote.

Pichette is hardly the first executive to leave a cushy job at a major company for family reasons.

Last year, Mohamed El-Erian left his position as CEO of investment management company Pimco when his daughter handed him a list of 22 life events he hadn't been present for.

They included her first day of school and her first soccer game of the season.

"I had a good excuse for each missed event! Travel, important meetings, an urgent phone call, sudden to-dos," he wrote in a column for Worth.com.

"As much as I could rationalize it — as I had rationalized it — my work-life balance had gotten way out of whack, and the imbalance was hurting my very special relationship with my daughter. I was not making nearly enough time for her."

For Pichette, who (it must be noted) is worth many millions, the time had come for his personal life to take over.

"In the end, life is wonderful, but nonetheless a series of trade offs, especially between business/professional endeavours and family/community," he wrote. "And thankfully, I feel I'm at a point in my life where I no longer have to make such tough choices anymore."

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