Google exec Mayer named Yahoo CEO, 5th in 5 years (Update)

Jul 16, 2012
In this Monday, Dec. 7, 2009, file photo, Marissa Mayer, VP of Search Products and User Experience for Google, speaks in Mountain View, Calif. Yahoo announced Monday, July 16, 2012, it is hiring Mayer to be its next CEO, the fifth in five years as the company struggles to rebound from years of financial malaise and internal turmoil. Mayer, who starts at Yahoo Inc. on Tuesday, July 17, 2012, was one of Google’s earliest employees and was most recently responsible for its mapping, local and location services. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

(AP) — Yahoo is hiring longtime Google executive Marissa Mayer to be its next CEO, the fifth in five years as the company struggles to rebound from financial malaise and internal turmoil.

Mayer, who starts at Yahoo Inc. on Tuesday, was one of Google's earliest employees and was most recently responsible for its mapping, local and location services. Mayer, 37, began her career at Google in 1999 after getting her master's degree in computer science from Stanford, the school Google's co-founders attended.

Ross Levinsohn has been running the company on an interim basis and was thought to be the leading candidate after Hulu CEO Jason Kilar dropped out from consideration. Levinsohn filled in after Scott Thompson lost his job two months ago in a flap over misinformation on his official biography.

Fred Amoroso, Yahoo's chairman, says the board was drawn to Mayer's "unparalleled track record in technology, design, and product execution."

Yahoo's website remains among the most popular destinations on the Internet with 700 million monthly visitors, but the company has struggled to turn those visits into ad revenue growth. Yahoo's decline has been exacerbated by the success of Internet search leader Google Inc. and social networking leader Facebook Inc.

Levinsohn, 48, who once ran Internet services at News Corp., made a positive impression by closing a long-delayed deal to sell part of its stake in Alibaba Group, one of China's most successful Internet companies. He also negotiated a truce with Facebook, averting a legal fight over patent rights that threatened to poison Yahoo's partnerships with the social network.

Now, the job of devising a new vision for Yahoo will fall to Mayer. She will need to quickly communicate how her strategy differs from the plans of four previous CEOs who have unsuccessfully tried to turn the company around during the past five years.

Mayer has a list of talents and accomplishments that could serve Yahoo well. She gained a reputation at Google as an effective leader with a long string of successes. Known for a folksy demeanor that harks back to her roots in Wausau, Wisconsin, she is a math whiz with a photographic memory. In her time at Google, she led teams that produced many of the company's most recognizable products, including the development of its flagship search product and the iconic Google homepage.

In this Monday, April 19, 2010 file photo, Google vice president of search products and user experience, Marissa Mayer, attends the 2010 Matrix Awards presented by the New York Women in Communications at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. Yahoo announced Monday, July 16, 2012, that it is hiring longtime Google executive Marissa Mayer to be its next CEO, the fifth in five years as the company struggles to rebound from years of financial malaise and internal turmoil. Mayer, who starts at Yahoo Inc. on Tuesday, was one of Google’s earliest employees and was most recently responsible for its mapping, local and location services. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

Mayer managed the launch of more than 100 features and products including Google News, and Gmail. She is credited with overseeing the creation of much of the clean, uncluttered "look and feel" of many Google products.

"I'm incredibly excited to start my new role at Yahoo tomorrow," Mayer wrote to friends and followers on Twitter Monday afternoon.

Biographical details on Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer

Yahoo Inc. has hired top Google executive Marissa Mayer as its fifth CEO in as many years, not including two who served on an interim basis. She starts her new job on Tuesday. Here are some biographical details on her:

NAME: Marissa Mayer

AGE: 37

EDUCATION: B.S. in symbolic systems and M.S. in computer science from Stanford University, specializing in artificial intelligence for both. She received an honorary doctorate of engineering.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Started at Google Inc. in 1999 as its first female engineer and 20th employee overall. Most recently responsible for Google's mapping products, location services, Google Local, Street View and a slew of other products. Helped create Google's flagship search service and the well-known white-background home page the company is still known for.

BOARD SEATS: Wal-Mart Stores Inc., San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Ballet and New York City Ballet.

QUOTE: "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."

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