Yahoo! Scores Coup by Tapping Google Exec for CEO

Yahoo! announced on Monday that it has hired a top Google executive to be the company’s next CEO. Yahoo! has hired Marissa Mayer, who was employee number 20 at Google, and the move means that Yahoo! has finally been able to find an engineer with management experience to try and revitalize the troubled firm.

“I am honored and delighted to lead Yahoo!, one of the internet’s premier destinations for more than 700 million users,” Ms. Mayer said in a statement. “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.”

Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer
Credit: Photo Published Under Wikimedia Creative Commons

Ms. Mayer is 37, and she sat on Google’s “operating committee,” a circle of executives who directly advised founders Larry Page, CEO of Google, and Sergey Brin. During her tenure at Google, she has overseen the look and feel of the company’s main search page, iGoogle, Google News, and Gmail. More recently, she oversaw Local, Maps, and Location Services, all very important businesses for Google.

BusinessInsider added that Ms. Mayer quit Google today, and that she reports for her first day at Yahoo! on Tuesday. For those keeping score at home, we can’t imagine any scenario where Google’s top management is happy about this move.

Yahoo! has been struggling, in part because Google upended search by offering clean search results based on proprietary Google algorithms. Building on that platform, Google has simply out-innovated Yahoo! and has worked very hard to integrate technologies like search, location services, local search, and more recently, its own mobile smartphone platform called Android.

In the meantime, Yahoo! lost its reputation for being a great search engine, and to many outside observers, the company has simply struggled to find and understand its own identity. In the press release announcing Ms. Mayer’s hiring, Yahoo! identified its top properties as Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! Mobile, Yahoo! Mail, and Yahoo! Search.

Terms of her employment were not announced and haven’t yet become public. She technically replaces Scott Thompson, who was terminated earlier in 2012 after problems with his resume came to light, but she’s taking the reins directly from Ross Levinson, who has been interim CEO since Mr. Thompson’s creative writing was discovered.

Scott Thompson replaced Yahoo! cofounder Jerry Yang, who left his company in January of 2012.

Ms. Mayer is now one of the most powerful women in technology, joining HP’s Meg Whitman in leading a Silicon Valley giant.