Everyone expected Yahoo! to name a new CEO and to do it soon. No one expected that new CEO to be Marissa Mayer, formerly of Google.
Yahoo! is a company at a crossroads. It’s seen four CEOs within the last year as it struggles to define itself. In a time before Google, it was a titan of search and web usability, but now it’s seen as secondary at best. However, it’s still got a lot of loyal fans in people who remember the old Yahoo or continue to use services like flickr or webmail (case in point: DearMarissaMayer.com)
It will be Mayer’s job to change that perception. She needs to set a clear vision and align Yahoo’s priorities to make that vision a reality. The web is full of speculation about what Mayer might do to bring Yahoo back to its former glory. With a strong tech background and leadership experience, she might be just the woman for the job. Hired as Google’s 20th employee in 1999, Mayer is a software engineer by training. She helped guide Google into its current position of search dominance until 2010, when she switched from search to local services, which included maps. Across the web, the general consensus was clear: Mayer had been pushed into a less executive role.
It’s no surprise that Mayer is now looking for the next challenge. While she hasn’t rebuilt a business from the ground up, her experience from Google should help her understand the unique needs of Yahoo and the challenges that the company faces. What does the future hold for Yahoo? Right now, only Marissa Mayer and her team know. Where will the company focus its efforts? Will Mayer be able to make Yahoo relevant again? Time will tell, but for the moment – and for the first time in a long time – the web is optimistic about Yahoo.
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