Google has found its new chief information officer, CNET News.com has learned: Benjamin Fried, a programmer who rose through the ranks to run much of Morgan Stanley's computing infrastructure.
Fried, a managing director who led Morgan Stanley's Application Infrastructure group, will take the new post in May, Google spokesman Matt Furman confirmed Thursday.
According to an internal Morgan Stanley memo seen by News.com, Fried will leave Morgan Stanley at the end of the month "to pursue opportunities outside the firm."
The memo also indicated that Fried is no stranger to Google. While at Morgan Stanley, one of his projects was working on Google's initial public offering in 2004, the memo said.
Google's last CIO, Douglas Merrill, left earlier in April to become president of EMI's digital unit. Earlier this month, rumors surfaced that Fried would be Google's new CIO.
Running Google's computing infrastructure is a daunting challenge on which the company's success hinges. Google not only has thousands of servers housed in at least 36 data centers scattered around the globe, but also a build-it-yourself culture that means the company is responsible for maintaining much of its own technology.
Fried, who worked for Morgan Stanley computing operations for nearly 14 years, has experience in the area, though. According to the memo, he worked on Morgan Stanley's first Web site, its workstation software, and its intranet.
From the World Wide Web to high-end salami
Fried got in on the ground floor of the Web. According to his biography, while he was at Columbia University, he worked on the original World Wide Web software written by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
In his most recent work at Morgan Stanley, Fried ran a wide swath of essential technology operations that are part of the Application Infrastructure group. His purview included e-mail, grid computing, real-time market data, source code management for software projects, the Web site, instant messaging, and desktop software.
Before joining Morgan Stanley, he did some work for Heuristicrats Research that sounds right up Google's tech-savvy alley: he helped design what he calls the Decision-Theoretic Scheduler, technology to schedule jobs in a system that's got too much to do already. It's abstruse stuff, but it sounds like it would apply squarely to Google's computing challenges. NASA used it to schedule missions, he said.
Outside of his computing work, Fried's an Ultimate Frisbee fan with ailing knees and a partner in Fra' Mani Handcrafted Salumi, a Berkeley, Calif.-based maker of cured meats that was founded by chef Paul Bertolli.