Yahoo names Marissa Mayer as CEO

July 16, 2012

Yahoo threw a curveball Monday, naming Marissa Mayer, who has been Google’s vice president of location services, as its new chief executive.

Mayer spoke to Dealbook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin confirming that she has resigned from Google and will be Yahoo’s top executive, taking over for interim chief executive Ross Levinsohn. Mayer will be Yahoo’s second female CEO.

Yahoo has had four chief executives in the past year, following its unceremonious firing of Carol Bartz in September. After Bartz was let go, interim chief executive Tim Morse, the company’s chief operating officer, stepped in to take over.

After Morse, Yahoo went with former PayPal executive Scott Thompson, who was subsequently chased out of office in just five months after questions were raised about his academic record. Yahoo then tapped its head of global media, Ross Levinsohn, for the job while it looked for another candidate.

Levinsohn, a popular figure in the company, was considered to be a top contender for the position, particularly after Yahoo successfully launched its mobile Axis browser and settled a high-profile patent lawsuit with Facebook in his short time at the helm.

Larry Page, CEO of Google, released a statement Monday afternoon:

“Since arriving at Google just over 13 years ago as employee #20, Marissa has been a tireless champion of our users,” Page said. “She contributed to the development of our Search, Geo, and Local products. We will miss her talents at Google.”

Yahoo did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

Mayer is well-known in tech circles for being Google’s first female engineer and has been in charge of several important projects there, including Google’s core search division. Most recently, she has been the vice president of location and local services. According to a report from Business Insider, Mayer had direct supervision over 1,100 managers in that role, as well as 6,000 contractors. The report said that gave her control over 20 to 25 percent of the company.

In a news release, Mayer said that she is excited to take on the new challenge.

“Yahoo!’s products will continue to enhance our partnerships with advertisers, technology and media companies, while inspiring and delighting our users. There is a lot to do and I can’t wait to get started,” Mayer said.

Related stories:

Thompson stepping down as Yahoo CEO

Yahoo: Who is Ross Levinsohn?

Yahoo patches hole, but hack affects more than just Yahoo accounts

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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