Marissa Mayer's Yahoo Still Searching for Revenue Growth a Year Later

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2013-07-17 Print this article Print

She's neither one-dimensional nor naive about her many assets. But what she seems to be most of all is a tack-sharp problem solver.

And right now the problem she's focused on is Yahoo.

Marissa Mayer's First Year

Arriving at Yahoo last July, Mayer had two main orders of business, says Charles King, principal analyst at research firm Pund-IT. 

"She needed to prove Yahoo was still a viable, innovative company, and she needed to prove that she was a viable CEO candidate. There were a lot of doubters on both of those counts, it's safe to say."

For the most part, he believes she's succeeding on both counts.

"She's made some bold moves, including the acquisitions, and I think many if not most Yahoo employees are probably happier to come to work today than they were a year and a half ago," said King.

"The stock is up a few dollars, and the shareholders are more comfortable than they were with previous CEOs. It doesn't mean that it's clear sailing ahead, but Yahoo's in a measurably clearer condition."

Neil Mawston, executive director of Strategy Analytics' Global Wireless Practice, puts four pressing items on Mayer's early to-do list: control costs, stabilize Yahoo's core businesses—search and online ads—develop new businesses and expand its mobile presence.

A year into her tenure as CEO, Yahoo's core businesses remain under pressure, and its mobile expansion is still a work in progress, says Mawston.

"There is little to worry Google or Apple in the near-term," he added, days ahead of Yahoo's 2013 second-quarter earnings and the conclusion of a full four quarters with Mayer at the controls.

When asked what Mayer needed to accomplish during her first year, Gartner Research Vice President Allen Weiner answered: money and a brand refresh.

"She needed to inject it more into the conversation of not only consumers but also advertisers and the cognoscenti," said Weiner.  

On July 17, 2012, Mayer's first day, Yahoo announced its second-quarter earnings results (Mayer didn't speak on the call). Revenue was $1.2 billion, nearly flat from a year earlier, and income was $228.5 million, down from $238.5 a year earlier. About $535 million in revenue came from display ads and $461 million came from search.


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