July 17, 2012
Yahoo Hires New CEO: Marissa Mayer
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Yahoo has chosen a former Google executive to take over as CEO, passing over Ross Levinsohn who had been acting as interim CEO and had made initial moves to bring peace between the Facebook and Yahoo houses.
Marissa Mayer, 37, will now be in charge of turning the struggling Internet company around. She also becomes the third Yahoo CEO within a year.
Yahoo´s decision is seen as a return to the aspects that once made the company great: Web search and a returning to their Silicon Valley roots.
Mayer was Google´s 20th employee and their first female engineer when she started in 1999. In her 12 years with the search giant, Mayer led design efforts in web search, books, images, news and the soon-to-be-extinct iGoogle.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Mayer was one of the first on Yahoo´s short list of possible candidates for the CEO seat.
Talks between Yahoo´s board and Mayer increased after their first meeting on June 18th. The board hopes someone with Mayer´s credentials will help focus the company on their strengths as well as attract new developers and engineers as they try to become competitive once more.
“This is a very competitive and a tough space. I don´t think that success is by any means guaranteed,” she said.
Getting right to work, Mayer will take the CEO chair today just before the Yahoo board issues their quarterly financial results.
While the board is excited at the prospect of bringing on the young ex-Google executive, some feel this move is another in a long line of bad decisions by Yahoo. Writing for TheStreet.com, Chris Ciaccia says Yahoo would have done better by sticking with interim CEO Ross Levinsohn instead of choosing someone with no experience.
“Yahoo! was (is? who knows anymore?) trying to turn itself into a media company following the departure of former CEO Scott Thompson, who tried to turn the company into a data mining and commerce company. If Yahoo! wants to be a media company, interim CEO Ross Levinsohn had the track record and would have been the perfect candidate for the job.”
Yahoo´s last female CEO, Carol Bartz, was fired over the phone last September after she failed to right the ship after two and a half years with the company. Since then, Yahoo has been led by 2 interim CEOs and one board-voted CEO. Scott Thompson was hired in January 2012. In his first 5 months with the company, Thompson had announced and executed a plan to cut Yahoo´s workforce by 2,000 employees, (14%) and launched a legal attack against the social networking giant, Facebook. Unhappy with his leadership, some investors, led by investment firm Third Point LLC´s Daniel Loeb, decided to do some digging into Thompson´s history and discovered he had made false claims about his education background on some critical SEC documents.
Daniel Loeb and Third Point LLC then launched a full on attack against Thompson and many members of the board, calling for their resignation. Loeb and company also demanded they be given the chance to select those who will fill the now vacant seats.
Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen has compared Mayer´s new duties to Steve Job´s attempts to turn around Apple, Inc. when he returned to the company he created in the late 90s.
“It´s a big job that Marissa is stepping into.”