Yahoo poaches Marissa Mayer from Google to take over as CEO
Stephen Foley is a former Associate Business Editor of The Independent, based in New York. He left in August 2012. In a decade at the paper, he covered personal finance, the UK stock market and the pharmaceuticals industry, and had also been the Business section's share tipster. Between arriving with three suitcases in Manhattan in January 2006 and his departure, he witnessed and reported on a great economic boom turning spectacularly to bust. In March 2009, he was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards.
Tuesday 17 July 2012
Yahoo electrified Silicon Valley and its own 12,000-strong workforce last night by poaching Marissa Mayer, one of the earliest and most famous employees of its arch-rival Google, to be the company's new chief executive.
Ms Mayer was the 20th person ever hired by Google, and in 13 years at the company she has been responsible for guarding the look and feel of all the search engine's consumer products, from the crisp home page, to Gmail, to the Google book scanning project. Most recently she has been running Google Maps and the company's services for finding information about local businesses.
Her defection was all the more stunning because the top job at Yahoo was seen as perhaps the most poisonous chalice in tech. Although Yahoo is still used in some form by 700 million people every month, it has struggled to find a new role in an age of social media, and instead has become synonymous in Silicon Valley with management turmoil, strategic drift and product disappointment.
By overlooking the current interim chief executive, Ross Levinsohn, a media industry executive whose background includes stints at Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, the Yahoo board intended to signal the company can still be a technology pioneer – and can still be a desirable place for talented engineers to work.
Indeed, announcing the appointment, Yahoo said it "signals a renewed focus on product innovation to drive user experience and advertising revenue".
Ms Mayer, 37, is a Stanford University computer science graduate who insisted at Google that its products should be designed to give the impression that no humans are involved. After founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and chairman Eric Schmidt, Ms Mayer was one of the most recognisable faces of Google.
She resigned from her job last night and will begin work at Yahoo this morning, on the day of its latest quarterly results. Yahoo shares spiked 2 per cent higher in after-hours trading.
Mr Levinsohn was put in charge in May in place of Scott Thompson, who resigned when it was revealed he had embellished his CV with a computer science degree he never gained. Mr Thompson had been at the helm less than six months; his predecessor, Carol Bartz, was sacked last September after failing to revitalise Yahoo in three years in charge. Ben Schachter, analyst at Macquarie Securities, said Ms Mayer would be given time to establish herself in her new job, but that there would also be doubters who question whether Yahoo needs someone with executive experience and not just engineering chops. "She needs to establish herself as someone for a vision for this company and the ability to executive against that vision," he told Bloomberg TV. "That's what this company has been lacking for some time now."
- 1 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 4 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 5 How to gain confidence and maximise your sexual potential
Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...
£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...