Yahoo picks Google's Marissa Mayer as new CEO
Posted on 17 Jul 2012 at 08:11
Yahoo has named Marissa Mayer as its new CEO, turning to an engineer with established Silicon Valley credentials to turn around the struggling former internet powerhouse.
Mayer edged out front-runner and acting CEO Ross Levinsohn to become Yahoo's third CEO in a year. She hopes to stem losses to Google and Facebook - which her high-profile predecessors failed to do.
Her hiring signaled the internet company is likely to renew its focus on web technology and products rather than beefing up online content.
Mayer, Google's 20th employee and first female engineer, has led a number of its businesses, and was credited for envisioning the clean, simple Google search interface still in use today.
She joins the extremely thin ranks of female Silicon Valley CEOs and told Reuters that she was immediately interested when Yahoo's board reached out to her in mid-June.
This is a very competitive and a tough space. I don't think that success is by any means guaranteed
"This is a very competitive and a tough space. I don't think that success is by any means guaranteed," she said. "My focus is always end-users, great technology and terrific talent."
Mayer will start today, when the company is scheduled to report its quarterly financial results, but she will not join the post-release conference call.
"It's a statement on Yahoo's part to go with a product-centric CEO choice. It's a very big commitment on the board's part to pursue a product-centric strategy," venture capitalist Marc Andreessen told the Fortune industry conference in Aspen, Colorado.
Last responsible for Google's local and location services, she joins fellow female tech chieftains Meg Whitman of HP, Virginia Rometty of IBM and Ursula Burns of Xerox.
"A lot of people did not believe that Yahoo could get someone of the caliber of a Marissa Mayer to become the CEO at this stage," said S&P Capital IQ equity analyst Scott Kessler.
Mayer also revealed on Twitter that she is pregnant with her first child, a boy. She told Fortune magazine that the baby is due on 7 October and she expects her maternity leave will only be a few weeks long.
A year of turmoil
But Mayer's ascension comes as her profile at Google appeared to have diminished in recent months. Shortly after Larry Page took over the helm from Eric Schmidt, she was excluded from a group of top executives reporting directly to the CEO and granted oversight over major strategic decisions.
Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt said Mayer's hiring was a "real win" for Yahoo. He, however, dismissed the notion that Mayer left because she was marginalised at Google.
"I promoted her through the ranks and she is now running this sort of big maps business, which is a lot of money," Schmidt said on the sidelines of the Fortune conference. "It's a nice big step for her," he added. "It's a loss for Google."
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