The appointment is likely to see a shift in focus for Yahoo! Towards product innovation across services such as its homepage, email, search and mobile given Mayer’s background as an engineer at Google. Previously the company has focused on forging media partnerships with brands to bolster its online content offering to drive advertising revenues.
Mayer, who was Google’s 20th employee, helped developed some of the company’s most successful products over the years including Gmail, Google Maps, Earth and Street View. She has also been credited with envisioning the clean and simple user interface for Google’s search engine.
She said in a statement: “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.
“Yahoo!’s products will continue to enhance our partnerships with advertisers, technology and media companies, while inspiring and delighting our users. There is a lot to do and I can’t wait to get started.”
While it remains the US’ largest web portal, Yahoo! has struggled to compete with rival search engines as well as the growing popularity of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Visitors on average spent less than two hours, 15 minutes on Yahoo pages in March, compared with more than six hours for Facebook, according to Comscore.
The appointment caps off a tumultous period for the compnay’s senior managament team. Earlier this year, Scott Thompson left the company in May after accusations that he lied about obtaining a computer science degree on his CV. He was the company’s third in as many years after replacing Carol Bartz who was fired last Autumn.
Yahoo’s global media head Ross Levinsohn had been handling the CEO position on an interim basis, however was passed over for the role permanently by the board.