Marissa Mayer has been named the next CEO of Yahoo. Known to many as employee No. 20 at Google, she’s been one of the few public faces of the company, and her hiring is considered a surprising coup for the struggling Yahoo.
Mayer, along with being part of Google’s inner circle, was key in spearheading the company’s famously simplistic looking search homepage, Gmail, Google News and Google Images. She has be more recently been put in charge of the company’s location and local services, including Google Maps, overseeing more than 1,000 product managers.
This is a sign that Mayer is looking to expand out after being named to Wal-Mart’s board of directors. She also joins a club of top executive women in Silicon Valley, including Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and Virginia Rometty, the head of IBM, and Sheryl Sandberg, who is Facebook’s chief operating officer.
Mayer said she “had an amazing time at Google,” where she has worked for the last 13 years. Still, ultimately “it was a reasonably easy decision” to take the top job at Yahoo, noting that Yahoo was “one of the best brands on the Internet.”
Mayer wants to attract other top talent to Google. “Talent is what drives technology companies,” she said.
Of the partnership with Microsoft for their search engine Bing, which was forced by Google, she said, “I actually think the partnership has been a positive [for Yahoo.]”
While Yahoo used to be a leader in the sphere of the Internet, since 1995, the company has had at least seven different permanent and interim chiefs and the company’s shares have fallen 41 percent over the last 5 years. “In the last few years, given the turnover, there has been a lack of attention on the user experience,” David Filo, co-founder of Yahoo who still works at the company, said in an interview. “We need to get back to basics.”