Mayer's long experience, innovation and leadership at Google are lauded by analysts as she moves to her new job at Yahoo, but will it be enough to help her turn her new employer around?
After an embarrassing and distracting string
of three CEOs just since January, Yahoo appears to be making a determined
effort to get things back on track with its
announcement July 16 that Google executive Marissa Mayer will now head Yahoo's
operations as CEO and president.
The question that remains, however, is Mayer,
37, the right person to lead Yahoo, which just a decade ago was one of the
first angels of the dot-com boom? Could Mayer's hiring be just another step in
a steady death spiral of Yahoo CEOs, or could this be the stabilizing choice
that can finally get the company back on a road to success?
In interviews with several IT analysts, the
choice of Mayer is garnering mostly positive reviews for Yahoo, which has been
overtaken in the last decade by direct competitor, Google, in the search
marketplace. It makes it even more interesting that Mayer hails from Google,
where she was one of that company's first
20 hires in June 1999and the company's first female developerwhen it was
just getting started.
"I really think this is a great move for
Yahoo," said analyst Dave Schubmehl of IDC. "If anybody can do it, I
think she has a really great chance of making this happen" and turning the
company's fortunes around. Mayer "has been really instrumental in a lot of
the Google work that is most popular, such as Google mail, and she redesigned
the Google search page. She basically has a lot of background in the technology
side and in the user-interaction side. Those are areas where Yahoo could
potentially make a difference."
By bringing in Mayer and her diverse
experience and technology leadership, Yahoo can now work toward merging its
existing strengthsa pool of talented people and plenty of good researchto
come up with new products that can ultimately earn new money for the company,
said Schubmehl. "She might be the right lady for the time."
Another analyst, Dan Keldsen of Information
Architected, said that while Mayer has all the necessary experience in
leadership, innovation, technology and being a geek to be a success in her new
job, the problem is that Google and Yahoo are two very different
"The challenge is that Google and Yahoo
arent anywhere near the same kind of company, so I dont think her experience
at Google automatically translates over directly to Yahoo," Keldsen said.
"Google is a search engine company where most of their money is made
through ads, while Yahoo is a portal company, which is more of a media
At the same time, Mayer does have experience
in media through her work at Google, he said. "The question is, can any
CEO step in" and get things back on track. "Yahoo's not dead and it's
not dying. It's just kind of sitting there. Can she make enough of an impact
that both employees and the market as a whole begin to feel that the future is
possible? Right now, they're just waiting around. I think the door is wide open
for her to make a big impact."