It’s taken all of two months for Yahoo to find a new CEO to take over the reins from interim CEO Ross Levinsohn: Marissa Mayer, responsible for Local, Maps and Location Services for Google, and one of Google’s key employees, has joined as President and CEO of Yahoo, effective July 17th 2012. There’s nothing from the company on Levinsohn’s future with the company, but we might find out later tonight, as Yahoo announces its financial results.
Mayer’s appointment marks the appointment of a key products person as Yahoo’s Chief, which is how Yahoo is pitching it, that this “signals a renewed focus on product innovation to drive user experience and advertising revenue for one of the world’s largest consumer internet brands, whose leading properties include Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! Mobile, Yahoo! Mail, and Yahoo! Search.”
Mayer had “managed some of Google’s most successful innovations, launching more than 100 features and products including image, book and product search, toolbar, iGoogle, Google News, and Gmail – creating much of the “look and feel” of the Google user experience.” She had joined Google in 1999 as its 20th employee and its first female employee.
Mayer joins the company after two rather unsavory exits: first, Carol Bartz was fired over the phone in September last year, following which Scott Thompson joined from Paypal. Thompson had to leave in the wake of the revelations that he had lied on his resume about having a computer science degree.
What They’re Saying
AllthingsD: outgoing interim CEO Ross Levinsohn, who lost the race for the company’s top job to Google exec Marissa Mayer – is unlikely to remain at the company. Mayer is already aiming for new hires. A report by AllthingsD also states that Yahoo’s board did not discuss the fact that she’s pregnant even though she had informed them in the process.
The Washington Post: Vivek Wadhwa, a former technology entrepreneur and an academic, has raised concerns over the damage that could be done to women in the tech field if Marissa Mayer fails to turn around the company that’s in deep trouble. According to Wadhwa, Yahoo truly is a sinking ship and is beyond any repairs, and if Mayer fails, he fears that media will say that the job is not meant for a women. (Editors Note: Wadhwa appears to have forgotten that former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz is a woman too. How does this matter?)
Marc Andreesen of Andreesen Horowitz via Business Insider: Mayer has proven herself as a manager at scale and the fact that she knows how to run these companies at scale, and that there aren’t many product managers in tech industry who can manage at scale. Apart from that, she’s also a proven product leader and that she knows the Internet inside out which is a big plus for the aging internet company.
The New York Times: Mayer is said to have focused on Yahoo’s strong franchises including e-mail, finance and sports. Venture capitalists Chris Sacca thinks that by hiring Marissa Mayer as a CEO, Yahoo is trying to bring product- and engineering-driven culture which Yahoo has been missing that for years. However, Shar Van Boskirk, an analyst at Forrester Research thinks that Yahoo has way too many products and hiring a former product person as a CEO, Yahoo won’t have somebody who has the ability to create a clear, unified vision and strategy for the Yahoo brand.
USA Today: Although Yahoo’s former CEO Scott Thompson restructured a plan to turn around Yahoo by letting go 2000 jobs, Yahoo is failing at attracting talent. Mayer could help Yahoo attract talent. Peter Shankman, an independent marketing strategist thinks that if Mayer doesn’t do it, the clock has pretty much ticked out for Yahoo.
ZDNet: After Scott Thompson left the company after his scandalous resume saga, what Yahoo needs is a respectable leadership that has a capability to turn around the company. And Marissa Mayer seems to have all that – she is well-known and respected in the industry.
Uncrunched: Michael Arrington sums it up by saying that ‘it’s a good day for Yahoo’ and that the whole Yahoo paradigm has shifted. He says that one can expect a bold new product strategy and an acquisition plan to help build the foundation of that strategy. With Mayer taking over, Yahoo’s reputation will change and more key employees will stick around, while the company will hire better ones. Although, he’s a also a bit skeptical and mentions that fixing Yahoo will be difficult, since it’s seemed to have grown comfortable with its decline.
(Any other interesting comments on Mayer’s appointment? Let us know)
Photo via: Mayer’s twitter profile