Yahoo poaches Marissa Mayer from Google to take over as CEO

 

New York

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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Tax Manager / Accountant

£35 - £50k DOE: Guru Careers: A Tax Manager / Accountant (ACA / CA / CTA) is n...

Ashdown Group: Contracts Executive - City of London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Contracts Executive - Cit...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Recruitment Genius: Call Centre Debt Collector - Multiple Roles

£21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen