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Yahoo Poaches a Top Google Exec


After 13 years in key roles at Google, Marissa Mayer bails for a job as CEO and president of Yahoo.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Seeing your stock pop more than 2% in after-hours trading isn't all that fabulous, but it's better than a stick in the eye, especially on a lousy Monday in the middle of July, and even more so if you're Yahoo (YHOO).

The stock rise was caused by a pretty startling piece of news, broken by Andrew Ross Sorkin on CNBC and in The New York Times at the stroke of 4 p.m.: Marissa Mayer had just resigned from Google to accept the job of CEO and president of Yahoo, the bumbling giant of the Internet.

Marissa Mayer is a genuine geek icon of Silicon Valley. She was Google's (GOOG) 20th hire and its first female employee, a Stanford-trained engineer who spent 13 years leading development of some the company's key projects, including Gmail and Google Maps. Not incidentally, she is said to have a strong design sense, and is credited as the force behind Google's minimalist but colorful front page. She sits on Google's operating board and, at just 37, she has a high enough profile to get elected to the Wal-Mart (WMT) board, too.

Clearly, all of the above wasn't going to get her much further at Google, where she had the title of vice president, reporting to a senior vice president.

No doubt she made many millions there, but "the Googirl" is gone, to use the nickname that a CNN producer-boy reports Mayer is "sometimes called." (The word was apparently coined by a headline-writer for a fashion magazine that featured Mayer.)

As for Mayer, she turned on a dime, from Tweeting about Google's latest features to announcing her new job with a link to the Yahoo news story. "I'm incredibly excited to start my new role at Yahoo tomorrow," she Tweeted, with a link to the Yahoo press release.

Financial analyst reaction to Mayer's hiring was cautious, not least because of Yahoo's recent history of CEO musical chairs, talent flight, and walking-dead staff morale. Some pointed out that Mayer is primarily a techie, and not at all a media type. That could be less than ideal, since Yahoo long ago farmed out its search functions (to Microsoft) and declared that it would distinguish itself as a content provider.

Then again, maybe Mayer has a better idea. After all, Yahoo still has 700 million users, but it has no design sense whatsoever.
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