Yahoo has poached one of Google’s top engineers as its latest chief executive to try to restore it as an Internet powerhouse.
Marissa Mayer will be Yahoo’s third boss in a year. Her job is to stem losses to Google and Facebook – something her high-profile predecessors failed to do.
Mayer, 37, edged out front-runner and acting Chief Executive Ross Levinsohn. His fate in the company is now unclear.
Mayer’s engineering background signals Yahoo will likely renew its focus on Web technology and products rather than beefing up online content.
She told Reuters: “This is a very competitive and a tough space. I don’t think that success is by any means guaranteed. My focus is always end-users, great technology and terrific talent.”
Mayer, who was Google’s 20th employee and first female engineer, has led a number of its businesses, and was credited for envisioning the clean, simple Google search interface still in use today, a major selling point for Web surfers.
Also known for her love of fashion and a regular in the society pages, she joins the extremely small group of female Silicon Valley CEOs.
The best known are Meg Whitman of Hewlett Packard, Virginia Rometty of International Business Machines and Ursula Burns of Xerox.
A self-described “geek” with a Masters in computer science from Stanford, Mayer has frequently championed bringing more women into tech.
Mayer also revealed on Twitter that she is pregnant with her first child, a boy due on October 7, and she expects her maternity leave will only be a few weeks long.
The appointment caps a tumultuous year at Yahoo. In May, Scott Thompson resigned as CEO after less than six months in the job as a controversy flared up over his academic credentials.
Thompson replaced the controversial and occasionally foul-mouthed Carol Bartz, fired in September after failing to revitalise Yahoo.