Marissa Ann Mayer (pronounced /ˈmaɪər/; born May 30, 1975) has been President and CEO of Yahoo! since July 2012. Previously, she was a long-time executive and key spokesperson for Google. Mayer was ranked eighth on the list of America’s most powerful businesswomen of 2013 by Fortune magazine.
Early life and education
Mayer was born in Wausau, Wisconsin, the daughter of Margaret Mayer, an art teacher of Finnish descent, and Michael Mayer, an environmental engineer who worked for water companies. After her 1993 graduation from Wausau West High School, Mayer was selected by Tommy Thompson, then the Governor of Wisconsin, as one of the state’s two delegates to attend the National Youth Science Camp in West Virginia.
Mayer graduated with honors from Stanford University with a B.S. In symbolic systems and an M.S. In computer science. For both degrees, her specialization was in artificial intelligence. In 2009, the Illinois Institute of Technology granted Mayer an honoris causa doctorate degree in recognition of her work in the field of search.
Mayer interned at SRI International in Menlo Park, California, and Ubilab, UBS’s research lab based in Zurich, Switzerland.
Mayer joined Google in 1999 as employee number 20 and was the company’s first female engineer. During her 13 years with the company, she was an engineer, designer, product manager and executive. Mayer held key roles in Google Search, Google Images, Google News, Google Maps, Google Books, Google Product Search, Google Toolbar, iGoogle, and Gmail. She also oversaw the layout of Google’s well-known, unadorned search homepage. In her final years with Google, she was Vice President of Local, Maps, and Location Services and, before that, vice president of search products and user experience.
On July 16, 2012, Mayer was appointed President and CEO of Yahoo!, effective the following day. She is also a member of the company’s board of directors.
In 2013, Mayer ranked 32 in the Forbes Magazine’s List of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Also in 2013, Mayer became the first woman listed as number one on Fortune magazine’s annual list of the top 40 business stars under 40 years old.
In an effort to simplify the bureaucratic process and "make the culture the best version of itself", Mayer launched a new online program called PB&J. PB&J collects employee complaints, as well as their votes on problems in the office; if a problem generates at least 50 votes, online management automatically investigates the matter.
In February 2013, Mayer oversaw a major personnel policy change at Yahoo! that required all remote-working employees to convert to in-office roles. Having worked from home toward the end of her pregnancy, Mayer returned to work after giving birth to a boy, and had a nursery built next to her office suite—Mayer was consequently criticized for the telecommuting ban.
In April 2013, Mayer changed Yahoo!’s maternity leave policy, lengthening its time allowance and providing a cash bonus to parents. CNN noted this was in line with other Silicon Valley companies, such as Facebook and Google.
On May 20, 2013, Mayer led Yahoo! to acquire Tumblr in a 1.1 billion dollar acquisition. The acquisition was just one in a series of major purchases that occurred since Mayer became the CEO of the company. In July 2013, Yahoo! reported a fall in revenues, but a rise in profits compared with the same period in the previous year. Reaction on Wall Street was muted, with shares falling 1.7%. In September 2013, it was reported that the stock price of Yahoo! had doubled over the 14 months since Mayer’s appointment.
In November of 2013, Mayer instituted a performance review system based on a bell curve ranking of employees, suggesting that managers rank their employees on a bell curve, with those at the low end being fired. Employees complained that some managers were viewing the process as mandatory.
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What inspired Zachary Bogue to post her photos on the Internet?
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Marissa Mayer on Pinterest
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