Why Did Marissa Mayer Leave Google To Be The CEO Of Yahoo?

Jul 17, 2012 • 9:01 am | comments (19) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Yahoo News

Marissa MayerMarissa Mayer was Google's 20th employee, joining them in 1999. She was responsible for most of the user interfaces you saw on Google up until a couple years ago.

Here is a timeline of her titles at Google since 1999:

  • Vice President, Local, Maps & Location Services: October 2010 – July 2012
  • VP, Search Products & User Experience: November 2005 – October 2010
  • Director, Consumer Web Services: March 2003 – November 2005
  • Product Manager, Google.com: July 2001 – March 2003
  • Software Engineer : June 1999 – July 2001

This woman had everything. She is incredibly rich from Google's IPO. She is incredibly famous in the tech world. She has an incredible reputation. She is incredibly well liked.

What else can she want? To prove that she can turn around an ailing old internet company that has been failing for over five years? But this can also be incredibly risky. Look at the past CEOs and what has happened to their reputations.

Here is the timeline for Yahoo CEOs (some interim):

  • Marissa Mayer (2012-Present)
  • Ross Levinsohn Interim (2012)
  • Scott Thompson (2012)
  • Tim Morse Interim (2011-2012)
  • Carol Bartz (2009-2011)
  • Jerry Yang (2007-2009)
  • Terry Semel (2001-2007)
  • Timothy Koogle (1995-2001)

I think Marissa wants to prove herself, that she can do what five CEOs before her could not do. Turn around Yahoo. It is a huge risk but honestly, I personally feel (I have no proof or inside knowledge) that she was pushed aside at Google two years ago and hasn't been able to do much to make a different at Google since then. Yea, mobile is huge at Google but I get the feeling she wasn't the ultimate decision maker on that. That being said, I have no proof of any of that. But her taking on a role at Yahoo makes me feel that is the case even more so.

Marissa confirmed the news on Google+ and Twitter. It is also posted on Yahoo's press site.:

Mayer said, "I am honored and delighted to lead Yahoo!, one of the internet's premier destinations for more than 700 million users. I look forward to working with the Company's dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world."

And for another bombshell, Marissa announced she is pregnant and due in October:

Danny has a nice piece on what this means for Yahoo and search at Search Engine Land.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and DigitalPoint Forums.

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Praveen Sharma

07/17/2012 01:17 pm

Amazing to see that Yahoo has gone for their 4th CEO in 2012, and looking for some magic from each one to boost up their market. It would be really interesting to see weather Marissa turn things around for Yahoo or Yahoo's current destiny has something to say to her.


07/17/2012 02:27 pm

Well all the best to her! Let's see if she can break records :P


07/17/2012 03:56 pm

Was the "woman that has it all" fed up with G+ being shoved into every product (not to mention, down our throats)?. Just sayin....

Webstats Art

07/17/2012 04:29 pm

Barry. I like the way you write here about these topics. It is more interesting than Mashable. Looks like Marissa may start a trend. Anything is possible right now!

Mike Kalil

07/17/2012 04:32 pm

Quit Google, join Yahoo!, get canned in 6 months, enjoy gigantic severance package? Just spitballing.

Reshav Singh

07/17/2012 04:56 pm

New Era Begins for Yahoo! Marissa will bring her experience and expertise in work!!!!

Reshav Singh

07/17/2012 05:00 pm


kailash chandra dimri

07/17/2012 05:28 pm

I don't think she can do any thing new... now marketing or business cannot change the scenario for yahoo. I.T industry is mature now she have to develop some thing new which is yet to developed then only condition become favorable to yahoo.

Bhupendra Shekhawat

07/17/2012 07:59 pm

best of luck marissa ...i hope you can save yahoo

Dave Fowler

07/17/2012 10:39 pm

As popular an engine as Google is, it is in all our interests to see a little more market share snagged by the likes of Yahoo! And Bing right now. The rapid and often challenging developments of the last 18 months have only reinforced the dangers inherent in our collective dependency on Google to sustain and grow business online. Marissa certainly has the skill set to take this creaking beast on, and whatever her motives we should wish her every success. A fascinating bit of speculative gossip, mind you Barry - thanks for speaking your mind.


07/18/2012 12:27 am

Apparently she notified the people at Google of her move by phone. Not sure if that is true but if it is then you are probably right Barry and she was pushed aside. She has had some semi public spats with Matt Cutts over Google local being pandalized and lets face it. Google isn't as forward thinking as they like to make out. There is no way a woman will head that company for a long time to come. So I think it is a good move for her and I wish her every success. Danny Sullivan thinks she will give up on search and focus on other areas. I hope he is wrong as we need as much competition in this market as possible. Google has certainly started moving towards the do evil end of the spectrum.


07/18/2012 12:55 am

That means she wants to do more in Yahoo.


07/18/2012 03:15 am

Good luck to her. It looks like Google hasn't given her a senior enough role for past few years - why? only Google knows. Yahoo! will be a harder place to manage - Google has $$$, you get used to manage a place that has lots of $$$ and it makes you feel like you are doing a good job..... So this will be a real test of her skills. BTW: Timothy Koogle CEO from 1995-2001 Google was founded in 1995 with Yahoo being the main competitor... Maybe Koogle/Google is just a coincidence...maybe a result of subconscious decision? :) RobK


07/18/2012 05:18 am

Good Luck Mayer:)


07/18/2012 11:34 am

Barry, completely agree. However, I think she chose wrong company to prove herself. Yahoo is doomed, it's a question of how, not when this company gets sold to the likes of Microsoft or gets out of business.


07/18/2012 01:21 pm

Looks like shes the first one to jump off Googles sinking ship....just wait and see


07/18/2012 01:22 pm



07/18/2012 02:19 pm

...and incredibly attractive!

Chandan Jha

07/19/2012 10:16 am

best of luck to beautiful lady but i don't think she will bring something new and create challenging point in front of Google because Changing CEO is not good solution for Yahoo look lary page for his continuously effort.

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