Google's Marissa Mayer named Yahoo CEO

Palo Alto resident and Stanford University grad to head Internet-services company

Yahoo has appointed Google executive Marissa Mayer as its new chief executive officer, the company announced Monday, July 16. Mayer, 37, a Palo Alto resident, will take the helm on July 17 as president, CEO and member of the board of directors.

Mayer, who has hosted President Barack Obama at her Professorville home, was hired by Google in 1999 as its 20th employee and first female engineer. She has a bachelor's degree in symbolic systems and a master's degree in computer science from Stanford University, where she specialized in artificial intelligence. She also holds an honorary doctorate from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Mayer has managed some of Google's most successful innovations, including image, book and product search, the toolbar, iGoogle, Google News and Gmail, Yahoo noted.

Most recently she was responsible for local, mapping and location services for Google, which include Google Maps, Google Earth, Zagat, Street View and local search.

According to Forbes Magazine, Mayer will be Yahoo's seventh leader CEO since 2007. She is the fourth CEO at Yahoo this year. She takes the place of Interim CEO Ross Levinsohn, who filled in after Scott Thompson resigned in May after a scandal involving his resume inaccuracies. Thompson replaced Interim CEO and current CFO Tim Morse in January.

"I am honored and delighted to lead Yahoo, one of the Internet's premier destinations for more than 700 million users," Mayer stated in a press release. "I look forward to working with the company's dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world."

Yahoo co-founder David Filo said: "Marissa is a well-known, visionary leader in user experience and product design and one of Silicon Valley's most exciting strategists in technology development. I look forward to working with her to enhance Yahoo's product offerings."

Many industry pundits thought that longtime executive Levinsohn would be a shoo-in, but Fred Amoroso, board chairman, praised the company's choice.

"The board of directors unanimously agreed that Marissa's unparalleled track record in technology, design and product execution makes her the right leader for Yahoo at this time of enormous opportunity," he said.


Like this comment
Posted by a programmer
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Yay! Suddenly I'm actually interested in working at Yahoo! It's going to be exciting to watch what I bet will be a great turnaround.

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2012 at 6:41 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Like this comment
Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 16, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Paul Losch is a registered user.

I am a neighbor of Marissa, got to witness the Obama entourage earlier this year when she hosted the President at her home across from Addison Elementery School.

I worked in the consumer packaged goods industry for the first part of my working life. The mergers and acquistions going in high tech are quite similar. Little companies get plucked up, big companies combine with other big companies and leave a few confused (HP/COMPAQ) the best example.

Can the Yahoo brand stand alone?

Like this comment
Posted by Best Wishes
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 17, 2012 at 2:58 am

Congrats to you Marissa, it's going to be tough but rewarding.

I am so happy that you decided to take a the leap to become CEO.

Yahoo has created amazing things over the years and I think you will awake this sleeping giant.

Best wishes to you and now Yahoo

Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 17, 2012 at 7:33 am

I don't know if Yahoo can be saved, but she will try to save it and make it relevant again through innovation and creativity, not through massive layoffs, unlike another female CEO recently appointed.

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 17, 2012 at 8:44 am

A very odd move.

Marissa is expecting the birth of her first child in late September-early October- congratulations

Marissa has enough money from her years at Google to never have to work again.

She has never been a CEO and has never had turn around responsibility.

Yahoo has been drifting aimlessly for years and the BoD has a history of treating its CEOs poorly-eg Carol Bartz.

So most competent CEOs would not want the job at Yahoo.

This move many well be an exit strategy for both Marissa and Yahoo-

-we will know in a few months.

Like this comment
Posted by Hope for us all
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 17, 2012 at 9:28 am

"A very odd move."

What's so odd? There's little downside for her. If Yahoo! continues to slide, it's just what most people expect. If she is able to turn it around, then she is a legend.

It's a bold, ambitious move, and it's heartening to see that there are still people around here who are up for the challenge.

Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 17, 2012 at 10:23 am

"So most competent CEOs would not want the job at Yahoo."
Is hat because the most incompetent of CEOs, namely Meg Whitman, got a job at HP?

Like this comment
Posted by Gunga Din
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 17, 2012 at 11:40 am

I have followed her career for over a decade. She is very smart and hard working. I recall reading that she used to spend 10-12 hours at a stretch answering her e-mail using Pine [Web Link)] so that she could process a lot of messages quickly. She would also spend a lot of late nights analyzing fonts and white space on Google's web pages. Since she has been a public face of Google for a long time and is very personable, there has been a lot written about how she manages her team and her life. Search for how she runs her afternoon meetings with product managers using a clock like that on a basketball court.
I believe that she will succeed at fixing Yahoo. This was a very smart move on the part of Yahoo's board.

Like this comment
Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 17, 2012 at 1:15 pm

I wish her luck, she is very smart and very ambitious, she could do a world of good for Yahoo. However, I think the Yahoo story as a serious player is over never to return. Maybe they can be a smaller more focused play, or acquired by a bigger fish and some of their remaining strengths leveraged.
Not roadkill yet, but not a finger on the pulse either.

Like this comment
Posted by Davey-o
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 17, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Nice story. But I would have preferred Marisa Miller!

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm

The real reason Marissa Mayer left Google: She had to

In the end, Google simply didn’t have room for Marissa Mayer.

She was passed over for SVP

Web Link

We predict that within 6 months most of Yahoo will be sold off and Marissa will have left " to spend more quality time with her new family"--husband and son she will live happily ever after-

-good for her and her son and husband

Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 18, 2012 at 7:18 am

And the hostility exhibited by our Sharon toward Marissa is entirely based on the fact she is a Democrat who hosted a President Obama fundraiser.

Like this comment
Posted by Sally
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 18, 2012 at 10:00 am

She claims that she is going to work through her pregnancy and maternerity leave (of only two weeks). She is very naive. As well, I feel sorry for her kid. Babies need their mommies.

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 18, 2012 at 9:42 pm

i heard its because she didn't like the egg rolls at google

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 18, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Congratulations to her for both this new role & the upcoming birth of her baby. I am sure that both roles will be exciting & challenging. It's great to hear about young women in leadership roles in tech.

Hope - loved your post. A bunch of us at dinner last night came to same conclusion - no real downside. I do wonder, though, how hard it'll be to leave the new little one & head to the office...!

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 19, 2012 at 9:37 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Would this have been a story if the subject was Mark Mayer?

Like this comment
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 19, 2012 at 11:11 am


Yes, it would be a story if a Mark Mayer were having a baby ...

Like this comment
Posted by Angus Burnside
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jul 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Wally--it would have been a story no matter who was appointed as CEO of Yahoo--you know that. It is just that you and others on this thread have problems with women in high positions. You also have issues with other people---check out your "separate but equal" solution to the Boy Scout's discrimination.

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 19, 2012 at 7:04 pm

The reasons we think it is an odd decision to hire Marissa as Yahoo CEO are

1. She has no senior executive experience.

2. She has never been an officer of a public company

3. She has never held a C suite job

4. Google did not see as as fit to be promoted to a Senior Vice President role @ Google

She faces a vertical learning curve to become a competent CEO

This is probably an exit strategy for Yahoo from much of its portfolio-
Marissa will be charged with firing many 1000s of Yahoo loyal employees and selling off business units-

-the hatchet CEO

After that she will be an ineffective leader and will be retired-

-to live happily ever after on her investments.

Not a bad deal-

- considering that she had no future prospects @ Google when they recently declined to promote Marissa to a SVP role @ Google.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 19, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Yeah, it would be a story regardless of gender. Here's why, if you don't understand, Walter:

-She's local
-She works for a large local company
-She's leaving that local job to be head of another large local company
-This new large, local company has had a spate of newsworthy problems. This is their solution.
-She will continue to be in the news as the head of this large local company, so get used to it.

Like this comment
Posted by Pay attention
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 19, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Anyone notice Sharon's creeping use of the royal "we"? As in "The reasons we think..." Seems to be happening more and more.

Like this comment
Posted by Barry
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 20, 2012 at 9:25 am

'Pay attention'

She explained the 'we' reference in the thread "Obama Motor Company" or whatever it's titled.

She did it in a post last night trying to defend her absurd Andrew Brietbart claim/copy/paste that another poster destroyed her on. Entertaining. Check out the posts there the last couple days where someone took all the wingnut claims from 2009 and created a "Greatest Miss" list.


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