Yesterday, Marissa Mayer was Google's Vice President in charge of its Local, Maps, and Location Services. Today she becomes the President and CEO of Yahoo.
Only 37, Mayer was Google's 20th employee and spent ten of her 13 years there in the search division. This may suggest Yahoo is interested in reclaiming some of the market share it continues to siphon to Google and Bing. How will Mayer turn those numbers around? Danny Sullivan posits in Search Engine Land that she will completely "write-off" search to focus on other aspects of the company.
What type of commitment will Mayer make to Yahoo's content producers? Yahoo had been transitioning away from advertising and into media under CEOs Carol Bartz and Scott Thompson and interim CEO Ross Levinsohn. Will Mayer stay the course or pivot to products, of which she's much more experienced?
So many questions for Mayer. Fortunately, we won't have to wait long for answers. At 2 PM this afternoon, Yahoo is holding its second quarter earnings call. While analysts don't expect much good news from the recent past -- aside from the weak numbers, there's the pesky little matter of 425,000 passwords being breached -- this may be the most optimistic and forward-looking call in recent memory. Michael Arrington certainly sees the positive, calling this a "paradigm-shift" for Yahoo.
But by looking ahead, what will this mean for Levinsohn? We were fairly certain that the Yahoo board would make the safe play and remove his interim tag, but now that they've gone in another direction, will he stay in the fold? He certainly has a track record and reputation that makes him highly-coveted, and if Mayer does in fact move Yahoo away from media, he could become expendable as well. That would be a big loss for Yahoo.
When the news broke yesterday afternoon, Mayer had just north of 152,000 Twitter followers; she's now up to 173,000 (and counting). If you'd like to learn more about Mayer, Fast Company profiled her in last year's Most Influential Women in Technology issue. From Gawker, in typical snarky fashion: Google’s Most Glamorous Employee Now Head of World’s Least Glamorous Company. And here she is dancing and bowling.
Congratulations, Marissa Mayer (both on the new job and the pregnancy). When you're ready to fix Yahoo's search syndication, give us a call.