Google VP of Location and Local Services Marissa Mayer has resigned as one of the search giant’s top execs to be the next CEO of Yahoo, making her one of the most eminent women corporate America and IT center Silicon Valley has ever seen.
Yahoo, the one-time leader in web search, chose Mayer, 37, from a shortlist of prominent candidates in an effort to bring life to its struggling business. Mayer had become one of the faces of Google during its press conferences and keynotes, and accounted for the look and feel of the company’s most successful products and services. In spite of her highly adorned background, she will face up a rather daunting challenge.
An Internet company known to have pioneered the online search industry in the 1990s, Yahoo is now attempting to stay relevant after lagging behind its main rivals at a time of rapidly changing innovations, such as advanced web search technology and social media tools, fields that Google and Facebook has taken full advantage of with great success.
Once seated, Mayer will be the fifth chief executive officer of Yahoo – two of which interim – to helm the company in less than one year.
Will Mayer, or anyone Yahoo’s board chooses to steer the company, be enough to help recover its former glory?
Yahoo’s board members, including the three newest directors led by hedge fund manager Dan Loeb, who joined in May, believes so, as they pushed the Sunnyvale, Calif., company to find a product expert who could make Yahoo more relevant to today’s Internet users.
“Yahoo is a company with an amazing following, terrific brand and huge amount of potential,” Mayer said in an interview.
Yahoo chairman Fred Amoroso cited Ms. Mayer’s “unparalleled track record in technology, design, and product execution” and said those make her “the right leader for Yahoo.”
WPP CEO Martin Sorrell is somewhat optimistic, saying, “It’s a very interesting departure and a very interesting choice. She comes with a formidable reputation, but we’ll see how she analyzes it all.”
For 13 years, Mayer lived mostly under the shadow of anyone Google places in front of her, even under unfavorable circumstances. Yahoo’s appointment will be an opportunity to prove how ready she is for the bigger stage.
Marissa Mayer, employee no. 20 and the first female engineer at Google, has degrees in symbolic systems and computer science, both of which specializing in artificial intelligence. She ushered in the popular, unadorned white search Google homepage and the method users interacted with Gmail, Google News and Google Images.