Mittwoch, 24. April 2019

Marissa Mayer Marissa Mayer's new job at Yahoo is just part of the story

Marissa Mayer, known as one of the most driven young executives in Silicon Valley, seems to relish the opportunity to steer an Internet pioneer struggling to make itself relevant again

Marissa Mayer announces she's pregnant, so the self-described geek will be adding the title 'working mother' as well as 'Yahoo chief executive.' The Web is buzzing about her and, because of her, Yahoo.

As if taking on the technology industry's toughest job wasn't challenging enough, Yahoo's new chief executive, Marissa Mayer, had another surprise: She was pregnant. And she was thrilled about it.

"Another piece of good news today," she announced to the world Monday via Twitter, just hours after resigning her top executive post at Google. "@zackbogue and I are expecting a new baby boy!"

The revelations were an instant hit on the Web, particularly among working moms and professional women. It was vintage Mayer. A quirky math geek with Grace Kelly looks and a taste for designer shoes, the 37-year-old has deftly navigated the male-dominated tech world with a combination of smarts and style.

"You can't break the cookie cutter much more than that," said Danny Sullivan, the editor in chief of Search Engine Land who has known Mayer since her earliest days at Google.

In becoming Yahoo's fifth CEO in five years, Mayer actually accepted two challenges: reinventing Yahoo and herself. Mayer, Google's 20th employee and its first female engineer, is for the first time emerging from the long shadows cast by Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to try to prove her own worth outside of the Internet's most powerful company. And she's doing it for tech's perennial underdog.

Mayer, known as one of the most driven young executives in Silicon Valley, seems to relish the opportunity to steer an Internet pioneer struggling to make itself relevant again. To succeed, she must do for Yahoo what she did for Google: Give users a product they love and that marketers want to support.

"She's a fantastic technologist and one of the hardest working people in technology," Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said. "Yahoo is lucky to have someone like that at the helm."

Mayer hails from a small town in Wisconsin where she showed an early aptitude for science and math. One of her first jobs in high school was working at the checkout counter at a grocery store where she memorized prices of hundreds of items in the days before scanners.

A top debater, she was on a high school team that won the Wisconsin state championship while her pompom squad was a state runner-up.

She pulled all-nighters studying artificial intelligence at Stanford and was leaning toward a consulting job at McKinsey advising Silicon Valley tech companies after graduation when, at the age of 24, she decided to take a gamble on a little-known Internet company called Google.

She talked her way into a job there by solving complex math problems on a white board for Brin.

"I had this feeling I was going to learn so much more inside of Google trying to help make decisions," Mayer told the Los Angeles Times in 2010. "I felt that even if we failed, I would learn a lot more."

Mayer, who could write code and had an eye for design, fit in well at Google, where everything depends on how smart you are. She worked around the clock and gained a reputation at Google for being hard-charging and paying micro-attention to detail.

She did not shrink from criticizing work that did not live up to her expectations. A perfectionist, she strove to make Google's products intuitive and simple to use, making Google synonymous with search and putting her stamp on email, maps and news.

She had no patience with people who couldn't keep up with her. And she wanted, she said, "to be in the room where the decisions get made." But when Page took over as CEO in April 2011, he did not make a spot for her on his senior leadership team. Instead, she took over the company's location and local products, fueling speculation she would leave Google.

Mayer is the second woman to serve as CEO of Yahoo. Silicon Valley veteran Carol Bartz was fired last September. Mayer joins a short list of top women in Silicon Valley, notablyHewlett-Packard Co. CEO Meg Whitman and another former top Google executive, Sheryl Sandberg, who left in 2008 to become Facebook's chief operating officer.

"This is a great moment for her personally, for Yahoo and for Silicon Valley," said Clara Shih, a former Googler who is co-founder and CEO of Silicon Valley start-up Hearsay Social and sits on the Starbucks board. "It's tremendously inspiring for me to see another prominent woman in the industry lean forward and really go for it."

Mayer is joining Yahoo as its fortunes have stalled. Its financial performance and stock price have been in a steady slump since Yahoo rejected a $47.5-billion takeover offer from Microsoft in 2008.

The extent of the work that Mayer will have to do was clear Tuesday when the Sunnyvale, Calif., company reported lower profit, more evidence that Yahoo is losing the battle for people's time and attention and marketers' advertising dollars to Google and Facebook.

© Los Angeles Times 2012

© manager magazin 2012
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