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Yahoo raids Google’s ranks for its latest CEO
Mayer becomes the second high-ranking female executive at Google to defect to one of the company’s biggest rivals. Sheryl Sandberg, who helped expand Google’s online advertising network, left in 2008 to become Facebook’s chief operating officer.
As one of Google’s earliest employees, Mayer already is extremely wealthy because of the stock options she received before the company went public in 2004. Yahoo didn’t immediately define the terms of her contract as its new CEO.
Mayer’s hiring threatens to alienate Levinsohn at a time he has been steering the company’s efforts to feature more compelling content that persuades its website’s 700 million monthly visitors to stick around for longer periods instead of spending so much time on the services of Facebook and Google.
“Marissa’s first order of business should be convincing Levinsohn to stay,” Gartner’s Weiner said. “If he leaves, there will be an exodus” among the Yahoo employees working on the content for the company’s website.
“If she can pull this off and turn around Yahoo, it will make her legacy,” he said. “If it doesn’t work out, she can still walk away with great class and dignity.”
Mayer starts at Yahoo Tuesday, when the challenges facing her should come into sharper focus with the scheduled release of the company’s second-quarter earnings. The results are expected to show Yahoo’s revenue growth remains sluggish, even as advertisers are spending more to promote their products and services on the Internet. Most of that money, though, has been flowing toward Google and Facebook.
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