Marissa Mayer

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Not to be confused with Marissa Meyer.
Marissa Mayer
Marissa Mayer May 2014 (cropped).jpg
Marissa Mayer, 2014
Born Marissa Ann Mayer
(1975-05-30) May 30, 1975 (age 39)
Wausau, Wisconsin, U.S.
Residence San Francisco, California
Palo Alto, California
Nationality American
Alma mater Stanford University (B.S. & M.S.)
Occupation President & CEO, Yahoo![1]
Computer programming instructor, Stanford University
Employer Yahoo!
Salary $117 million over 5 years;[2] $36.6 million for first six months.[3]
Net worth Increase $300M USD[4]
Board member of
Cooper–Hewitt, National Design Museum
New York City Ballet
Jawbone[5]
San Francisco Ballet
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Walmart[6]
Religion Lutheran[7]
Spouse(s) Zachary Bogue (m. 2009)[8]
Children 1

Marissa Ann Mayer (/ˈmər/;[9] born 1975) is the current president and CEO of Yahoo!, a position she has held since July 2012. Previously, she was a long-time executive and key spokesperson for Google.[10][11][12] Mayer was ranked eighth on the list of America's most powerful businesswomen of 2013 by Fortune magazine.[13]

Early life and education[edit]

Mayer was born in Wausau, Wisconsin, the daughter of Margaret Mayer, an art teacher of Finnish descent,[14] and Michael Mayer, an environmental engineer who worked for water companies.[15][16][17] Her grandfather, Clem Mayer, had polio when he was 7 and served as mayor of Jackson, Wisconsin for 32 years.[18][19][20] As a child, Mayer was "painfully shy" and was a Brownie.[21] During middle school and high school, she took piano and ballet lessons, the latter which taught her "criticism and discipline, poise and confidence."[21]

When she was attending Wausau West High School, Mayer was on the curling team and the precision dance team.[21] She excelled in chemistry, calculus, biology, and physics.[22] She took part in extracurricular activities, becoming president of her high school's Spanish club, treasurer of Key Club, captain of the debate team, and captain of the pom-pom squad.[21] Her high school debate team won the Wisconsin state championship and the pom-pom squad was the state runner-up.[18] During high school, she worked as a grocery clerk.[23] After graduating from high school in 1993,[24] 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.[25]

Intending to become a pediatric neurosurgeon,[26] Mayer took pre-med classes at Stanford University.[21] She later switched her major from pediatric neuroscience to symbolic systems.[27] 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.[28] 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.[21] Mayer went on to graduate with honors from Stanford with a B.S. in 1997[27][28] and an M.S. in computer science in 1999.[29] 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.[26] In 2009, the Illinois Institute of Technology granted Mayer an honoris causa doctorate degree in recognition of her work in the field of search.[30][31]

Mayer interned at SRI International in Menlo Park, California, and Ubilab, UBS's research lab based in Zurich, Switzerland.[26][32] She holds several patents in artificial intelligence and interface design.[33][34]

Career[edit]

Google[edit]

Mayer received 14 job offers,[27] including a teaching job at Carnegie Mellon University[28] and a consulting job at McKinsey & Company.[21] She joined Google in 1999 as employee number 20 and was the company's first female engineer.[35][36] She started out writing code and overseeing small teams of engineers, developing and designing Google’s search offerings.[11] She became known for her attention to detail.[37] She was soon promoted to product manager[38] and later became Director of Consumer Web products.[39][18] She oversaw the layout of Google's well-known, unadorned search homepage[40][41][39] In 2005 she became Vice President of Search Products and User Experience.[42] Mayer held key roles in Google Search, Google Images, Google News, Google Maps, Google Books, Google Product Search, Google Toolbar, iGoogle, and Gmail.[43]

In 2002, Mayer started the Associate Product Manager (APM) program, a Google mentorship program aimed to recruit new talents and cultivate and train them for leadership roles within the company. Each year, Mayer selected a number of junior employees for the two-year program, which would see them take on a number of extracurricular assignments and intensive evening classes.[21][37][44] Notable graduates of the program include Bret Taylor and Justin Rosenstein.[44]

In 2011, she secured Google's acquisition of survey site Zagat for $125 million.[37]

Mayer was the Vice President of Google Product Search until the end of 2010, when she was moved by then-CEO Eric Schmidt to head the Local, Maps, and Location Services.[37][45]

Yahoo[edit]

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.[46][47]

In 2013, Mayer ranked 32 in the Forbes Magazine's List of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women.[48] 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.[49] In 2014, she was listed again as one of the 100 most influential women in the world. She was ranked at #18, behind Beyonce Knowles.[50]

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.[51]

In February 2013, Mayer oversaw a major personnel policy change at Yahoo! that required all remote-working employees to convert to in-office roles.[52] 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.[53]

In April 2013, Mayer changed Yahoo!'s maternity leave policy, lengthening its time allowance and providing a cash bonus to parents.[54] CNN noted this was in line with other Silicon Valley companies, such as Facebook and Google.[55][56]

On May 20, 2013, Mayer led Yahoo! to acquire Tumblr in a $1.1 billion dollar acquisition.[57][58] 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%.[59] In September 2013, it was reported that the stock price of Yahoo! had doubled over the 14 months since Mayer's appointment.[60]

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.[61][62] Employees complained that some managers were viewing the process as mandatory.[62]

Teaching[edit]

While Mayer was working at Google, she taught introductory computer programming at Stanford and mentored students at the East Palo Alto Charter School.[26] She was awarded the Centennial Teaching Award and the Forsythe Award from Stanford.[63]

Boards and honors[edit]

As well as sitting on the boards of directors of Walmart, Jawbone, and Yahoo! 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.[64][65][66][67]

Mayer actively invests in technology companies, including crowd-sourced design retailer Minted,[68][69] live video platform Airtime,[69] wireless power startup uBeam,[69] online DIY community/e-commerce company Brit + Co.,[69][70] mobile payments processor Square,[69] home décor site One Kings Lane,[69][71] and genetic testing company Natera.[69]

Mayer was named to Fortune magazine's annual list of America's 50 Most Powerful Women in Business in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 with ranks at 50, 44, 42, 38, 14 and 8 respectively.[72] 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.[73]

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.[15] In 2013, she was also named in the Time 100 and became the first woman listed as number one on Fortune magazine's annual list of the top 40 business stars under 40 years old.[74] Mayer eventually 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.[75]

Personal life[edit]

Mayer dated Google co-founder Larry Page in the early 2000s.[38]

Mayer married lawyer and investor Zachary Bogue on December 12, 2009.[76][77] On the day Yahoo! announced her hiring, Mayer revealed that she was pregnant[78][79][80] and Mayer gave birth to a baby boy on September 30, 2012.[81] Although she asked for suggestions via social media,[82] the name Macallister was eventually chosen for her baby's name from an existing list.[83]

Mayer is Lutheran,[7] but said, referencing Vince Lombardi's "Your God, your family and the Green Bay Packers" quote, her priorities are “God, family and Yahoo, except I'm not that religious, so it's really family and Yahoo.”[84] In August 2013, Business Insider reported that Mayer lives in a penthouse suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco with her husband and son.[21]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Ross Levinsohn
Acting
Chief Executive Officer of Yahoo!
2012–present
Incumbent