Former CEO of Yahoo!
"Marissa Mayer is an American information technology executive, formerly serving as the president and CEO of Yahoo!, a position she had held starting July 2012. In January 2017, it was announced that she will step down from the company's board upon the sale of Yahoo!'s operating business to Verizon Communications. She announced that resignation on June 13, 2017. She is a graduate of Stanford and was a long-time executive, usability leader, and key spokesperson for Google.
Intending to become a pediatric neurosurgeon, Mayer took pre-med classes at Stanford University. She later switched her major from pediatric neuroscience to symbolic systems, a major which combined philosophy, cognitive psychology, linguistics, and computer science. At Stanford, she danced in the university ballet's Nutcracker, was a member of parliamentary debate, volunteered at children's hospitals, and helped bring computer science education to Bermuda's schools. During her junior year, she taught a class in symbolic systems, with Eric S. Roberts as her supervisor. The class was so well received by students that Roberts asked Mayer to teach another class over the summer. Mayer went on to graduate with honors from Stanford with a BS in symbolic systems in 1997 and an MS in computer science in 1999. For both degrees, her specialization was in artificial intelligence. For her undergraduate thesis, she built travel-recommendation software that advised users in natural-sounding human language. 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. She holds several patents in artificial intelligence and interface design.
After graduating from Stanford, Mayer received 14 job offers, including a teaching job at Carnegie Mellon University and a consulting job at McKinsey & Company. She joined Google in 1999 as employee number 20. She started out writing code and overseeing small teams of engineers, developing and designing Google's search offerings. She became known for her attention to detail, which helped land her a promotion to product manager, and later she became director of consumer web products. She oversaw the layout of Google's well-known, unadorned search homepage. She was also on the three-person team responsible for Google AdWords, which is an advertising platform that allows businesses to show their product to relevant potential customers based on their search terms. AdWords helped deliver 96% of the company's revenue in the first quarter of 2011.
In 2002, Mayer started the Associate Product Manager (APM) program, a Google mentorship initiative to recruit new talents and cultivate them for leadership roles. Each year, Mayer selected a number of junior employees for the two-year program, where they took on extracurricular assignments and intensive evening classes. Notable graduates of the program include Bret Taylor and Justin Rosenstein. In 2005, Mayer became Vice President of Search Products and User Experience. Mayer held key roles in Google Search, Google Images, Google News, Google Maps, Google Books, Google Product Search, Google Toolbar, iGoogle, and Gmail.
Mayer was the vice president of Google Search Products and User Experience until the end of 2010, when she was asked by then-CEO Eric Schmidt to head the Local, Maps, and Location Services. In 2011, she secured Google's acquisition of survey site Zagat for $125 million. While Mayer was working at Google, she taught introductory computer programming at Stanford and mentored students at the East Palo Alto Charter School. She was awarded the Centennial Teaching Award and the Forsythe Award from Stanford.
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. To simplify the bureaucratic process and "make the culture the best version of itself", Mayer launched a new online program called PB&J. It 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 built a mother's room 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. Mayer has been criticized for many of her management decisions in pieces by The New York Times and The New Yorker.
On May 20, 2013, Mayer led Yahoo! to acquire Tumblr in a $1.1 billion acquisition. In February 2016, Yahoo! acknowledged that the value of Tumblr had fallen by $230 million since it was acquired. 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. However, much of this growth may be attributed to Yahoo!'s stake in the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group, which was acquired before Mayer's tenure.
In November 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. In February 2016, a former Yahoo! employee filed a lawsuit against the company claiming that Yahoo's firing practices have violated both California and federal labor laws.
In 2014, Mayer was ranked sixth on Fortune's 40 under 40 list, and was ranked the 16th most-powerful businesswoman in the world that year according to the same publication. In March 2016 Fortune would name Mayer as one of the world's most disappointing leaders. Yahoo! stocks continued to fall by more than 30% throughout 2015, while 12 key executives left the company…
Mayer announced her resignation on June 13, 2017. In spite of large losses in advertising revenue at Yahoo! and a 50% reduction in staff during her 5 years as CEO, Mayer was paid a total of $239 million over that time, mainly in stock and stock options. On the day of her resignation, Mayer publicly highlighted many of the company's achievements during her tenure, including: creating $43B in market capitalization, tripling Yahoo stock, growing mobile users to over 650 million, building a $1.5B mobile ad business, and transforming Yahoo's culture.
On 8 November 2017, along with several other present and former corporate CEOs; Mayer testified before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation regarding major security breaches at Yahoo during 2013 and 2014.
As well as sitting on the boards of directors of Walmart and Jawbone, Mayer also sits on several non-profit boards, such as Cooper–Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Mayer was named to Fortune magazine's annual list of America's 50 Most Powerful Women in Business in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 with ranks at 50, 44, 42, 38, 14, 8 and 16 respectively. In 2008, at age 33, she was the youngest woman ever listed.
Mayer was named one of Glamour Magazine's Women of the Year in 2009. She was listed in Forbes Magazine's List of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women in 2012, 2013 and 2014, with ranks of 20, 32 and 18 respectively.
In September 2013, Mayer became the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to be featured in a Vogue magazine spread.
In 2013, she was also named in the Time 100, becoming the first woman listed as number one on Fortune magazine's annual list of the top 40 business stars under 40 years old.
Mayer made Fortune magazine history in 2013, as the only person to feature in all three of its annual lists during the same year: Businessperson of the Year (No. 10), Most Powerful Women (at No. 8), and 40 Under 40 (No. 1) at the same time. In March 2016, Fortune then named Mayer as one of the world's most disappointing leaders.
On 24 December 2015, Mayer was listed by UK-based company Richtopia at number 14 in the list of 500 Most Influential CEOs.
Mayer appeared on the List of women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies in 2017, having ranked 498 of the top 500 Fortune 500 company CEOs." (1)