Marissa Mayer takes charge as Yahoo Inc’s new chief executive. She assumes office from today from Tuesday. The appointment of Mayer, who was the former CEO of Google Inc comes as a surprise, as she edged out front-runner and acting CEO Ross Levinsohn. With Mayer’s accession, reports suggest that Yahoo will make a renewed focus on web technology and products, instead of its current focus on online content. The development has also led to the shares of Yahoo being hiked by 2%, to $15.97.
Mayer, who tweeted about being “incredibly excited” about the new venture will assume charge as the will make a report of its quarterly financial results. One of Google’s earliest employees, Mayer was the first female engineer of the company, who lead various business ventures including the design of its flagship search engine. Mayer has also been in charge of Google’s recent launch of local and location services.
“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,” said Marc Andreessen, venture capitalist. He was addressing the Fortune industry conference in Aspen, Colorado. “Tech companies can be turned around,” he added, citing the instance of Apple Inc, which saw a bounce back from its state of bankruptcy as Steve Jobs took over. “It’s a big job that Marissa is stepping into,” Andreessen said.
Yahoo, which has over 700 million monthly users has failed to attract advertisers and increase revenue. Mayer’s main challenge will be the resuscitation of the waning enterprise and avert the crisis preceding executives found themselves in. With the loss of a great share of the advertising market to competitors like Facebook and Google, very littel has been done to avert the company’s identity crisis.
Colleagues at Google are all accolades for Mayer. “She had a very instrumental role in creating the most powerful monetization engine in the history of the internet,” said a former Google employee Chris Sacca. “I remember her ship as being the tightest run as well as the most rewarding for the members of her team. Yahoo employees need a vision to rally around and a leader they believe can take them there. I think Marissa is that person.”
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