Yahoo! appoints Google executive as firm's chief
YAHOO HAS picked Google’s Marissa Mayer to become its new chief executive, turning to an engineer with established Silicon Valley credentials to turn around the struggling former internet powerhouse.
Ms Mayer (37) edged out front-runner and acting chief executive Ross Levinsohn to become Yahoo’s third chief in a year. She hopes to stem losses to Google and Facebook – which her high-profile predecessors failed to do.
Her hiring signals that Yahoo is likely to renew its focus on web technology and products rather than beefing up online content.
Ms Mayer was credited for envisioning the clean, simple Google search interface still in use, a big selling point for web surfers.
She is also known for her love of fashion and is a regular on the society pages. Ms Mayer joins the thin ranks of female Silicon Valley chief executives and said she was 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,” she said. “My focus is always end-users, great technology and terrific talent.”
“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.
Tech companies could be turned around, he said, citing as an example Apple, which had teetered on the brink of bankruptcy before Steve Jobs returned to the company he co-founded.
“It’s a big job that Marissa is stepping into,” Mr Andreessen added.
Ms Mayer started work yesterday as the company prepared to report its quarterly financial results. She has also revealed on Twitter that she is pregnant with her first child, a boy. She told Fortune magazine that the baby was due on October 7th and she expected her maternity leave would only be for a few weeks.
Last responsible for Google’s local and location services, SP Capital IQ equity analyst Scott Kessler said: “A lot of people did not believe that Yahoo could get someone of the calibre of a Marissa Mayer to become the CEO at this stage.” – (Reuters)