Google Exec Becomes Yahoo’s Newest Chief

Google Exec Becomes Yahoo’s Newest Chief

Remember Scott Thompson, Yahoo’s most recent CEO? Yeah, he’s been replaced. In May, Thompson resigned following a bit of a scandal regarding the authenticity of his academic credentials. Now, the search for Yahoo’s next big leader is over: the New York Times reports that Marissa Mayer, one of Google’s top executives, will be the next chief at Yahoo.

It’s not a huge secret that Yahoo has been struggling for years to establish its identity in the shadows of giants like Google and Facebook. Previous chiefs have largely been unable to clearly establish the company’s strategy to remain relevant in a developing tech world. To put it succinctly, Mayer is facing a huge challenge.

Mayer was trained as an engineer and began her work at Google with computer programming. She has been behind some of the company’s most popular and lasting products, including the famously minimalist white search home page and the way users interact with Gmail, Google News, and Google Images.

Chris Sacca, who previously worked with Mayer at Google, had good things to say in his interview with the New York Times. “Yahoo finally has someone who has both business acumen and geek cred at the helm. She stands for a work hard/play hard, product- and engineering-driven culture, and Yahoo has been missing that for years,” he said.

However, concerns exist. Mayer comes to the job with little experience at a companywide level. On one hand, this lack of experience may pose a challenge when it comes to setting a strategic vision for a major brand that wants to return to its glory days. On the other hand, her fresh perspective might be exactly what Yahoo needs.

Plus, Mayer has a plan. As she hashes out Yahoo’s strategy, Mayer said she “wanted to focus on the Internet company’s strong franchises, including e-mail, finance and sports.” She also hopes to do more with Yahoo’s video broadband and mobile businesses in order to tap into its significant base of users.

“In the last few years, given the turnover, there has been a lack of attention on the user experience,” David Filo, a co-founder of Yahoo, who still works at the company, said in an interview with the New York Times. “We need to get back to basics.” Filo said he was very excited that Ms. Mayer agreed to join the company. “It will be a surprise for a lot of people.”

Scott Kaufmann
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Scott is Partner at Lucid Agency and a lover of all things technology, marketing, investing and entrepreneurship. Scott volunteers on the board of the Denver-based Nonprofit Celebrate EDU and as a mentor for SeedSpot (a Phoenix-based social startup incubator).

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