Yahoo turns to Google's Mayer for revival

Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:55am EDT
 
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By Alexei Oreskovic and Peter Lauria

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc picked Google Inc's Marissa Mayer to become its new CEO, turning to an engineer with established Silicon Valley credentials to turn around the struggling former Internet powerhouse.

Mayer, 37, edged out front-runner and acting Chief Executive Ross Levinsohn to become Yahoo's third CEO in a year. She hopes to stem losses to Google and Facebook Inc - which her high-profile predecessors failed to do.

Her hiring signaled the Internet company is likely to renew its focus on Web technology and products rather than beefing up online content.

Mayer, Google's 20th employee and first female engineer, has led a number of its businesses, and was credited for envisioning the clean, simple Google search interface still in use today, a major selling point for Web surfers.

Also known for her love of fashion and a regular on the society pages, she joins the extremely thin ranks of female Silicon Valley CEOs and told Reuters that she was immediately interested when Yahoo's board reached out to her in mid-June.

"This is a very competitive and a tough space. I don't think that success is by any means guaranteed," she said. "My focus is always end-users, great technology and terrific talent."

Shares of Yahoo, worth less than half their value during its dotcom heyday, gained 2 percent to $15.97 in after-hours trading.

"It's a statement on Yahoo's part to go with a product-centric CEO choice. It's a very big commitment on the board's part to pursue a product-centric strategy," venture capitalist Marc Andreessen told the Fortune industry conference in Aspen, Colorado.   Continued...

 
Marissa Mayer poses at Google's Mountain View, California headquarters, in this February 24, 2009 file photo. Mayer, who at the time served as Google's vice president of Search Products & User Experience, was named as Yahoo's CEO in a surprise announcement on July 16, 2012. REUTERS/Noah Berger/Files