Ending weeks of speculations and springing up a big surprise, struggling Internet giant Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO: Quote) said Monday that it has appointed Marissa Mayer, one of the earliest employees of arch rival Google Inc. (GOOG), as president and chief executive officer and a director of the company, effective July 17.
Mayer, 37, most recently served as vice president of local, maps, and location services at Google where she oversaw product management, engineering, design and strategy for the company's geographical products, including Google Maps, Google Earth, Zagat and Street View. She also curated the Google Doodle program, celebrating special events on Google's homepage.
Joining Google in 1999 as its 20th employee and first female engineer, Mayer rose through the ranks and led efforts for the development of the company's flagship search product and iconic homepage.
Before joining Google, Marissa worked at the UBS research lab in Zurich, Switzerland and at SRI International in Menlo Park, California.
Marissa also currently serves on the board of directors of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT), the world's largest retailer.
"The Board of Directors unanimously agreed that Marissa's unparalleled track record in technology, design, and product execution makes her the right leader for Yahoo! at this time of enormous opportunity," said Fred Amoroso, Chairman of the Yahoo board.
Mayer said, "I am honored and delighted to lead Yahoo!, one of the internet's premier destinations for more than 700 million users. I look forward to working with the Company's dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world."
The appointment of Mayer ended a two-month old search for a permanent CEO at Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo.
The search began in mid-May after Scott Thompson resigned as CEO and a director of Yahoo in mid-following relentless calls from investors, Daniel Loeb of hedge fund Third Point LLC, to fire him. The move came after Thompson was found to have embellished his academic credentials, which undermined his credibility as a technology expert.
As part of an ongoing strategic review process that started in early September after Carol Bartz was fired as CEO over phone by the Yahoo board, Thompson was named by Yahoo to take over as its fourth CEO in five years in early January.
Following Thompson's departure, Ross Levinsohn, the company's then global media chief, was appointed as interim CEO. Levinsoh was seen as strong contender for the permanent CEO post.
Like many of her recent predecessors, Mayer's job at Yahoo would not be be a cakewalk either. She faces an uphill task of staging a turnaround at the struggling Internet pioneer. She will also have to deal with Yahoo's Asian partners.
In May, Yahoo reached an agreement to unload its holdings in Alibaba Group in three tranches after several failed earlier attempts. Yahoo agreed to sell back half of its 40% stake to the Chinese e-commerce firm in a cash and stock deal valued at about $7.1 billion. Of the remaining 20% stake, a 10% stake will be divested through an initial public offering of Alibaba in future. Alibaba will be required either to repurchase the stake at the IPO price or allow Yahoo to sell the shares in the IPO.
Incidentally, Yahoo is scheduled to report its second quarter financial results on Tuesday, the day Mayer resumes her job at the company. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters currently expect the company to earn $0.23 per share on revenue of $1.10 billion for the quarter.
Yahoo shares, which have traded in a range of 11.09 to 16.79 over the past year, closed Monday's regular trading session at $15.65, down 9 cents, but gained an additional 33 cents or 2.14% in after hours trading.
| || |
| To receive FREE breaking news email alerts for Yahoo! Inc. and others in your portfolio|
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org