17th July 2012  Mayer Leaves Google For Top Job At Yahoo.

Struggling media and search website Yahoo Inc. (YHOO), once an internet powerhouse which failed to keep pace with its rivals, has gone to one of those rivals to find it third CEO in 6 months.

Yahoo surprised all with the announcement that Marissa Mayer had left Google Inc (GOOG) and would be joining the company as its CEO. The position had been widely expected to go to interim CEO Ross Levinsohn who had taken over after Scott Thompson left in May. In that time Levinsohn ended a patent dispute with Facebook (FB) which then led to both companies entering into a social network partnership and he ended a long running saga with Alibaba (1688), a relationship that had turned sour in recent years. However, with the share price remaining flat the board appears to have favoured the more tech focused Mayer over Levinsohn's media-focused approach.

Ms. Mayer, Google employee no 20 and its first female engineer, is widely credited with the clean interface Google Search still uses. She served 13 years at the company, becoming one of its most public faces, but leaves after being pushed out of a group of executives close to CEO Larry Page after he took over from Eric Schmidt.

Today Yahoo finds itself with far too many products, none of which are industry or market leaders. It has been overtaken by competitors at all corners, with Yahoo Mail falling heavily behind Gmail and the company abandoning its search engine to Microsoft (MSFT) in 2009. Mayer will need to pick a core few products from the companies many diversified interests and define what Yahoo is and does, a task Carol Bartz failed before being fired in September 2011. She has already said that she was "intent on leveraging the Internet company's strong franchises", mentioning e-mail, finance, sports, video broadband and mobile businesses.

While it's going to be no easy task Mayer has experience leading great, industry defining products. Yahoo has, to a large degree, lost its relevance to the internet in recent years it still boosts a large user base and a large cash stockpile from the sale of its stake in Alibaba. Mayer's challenge will be to tame the Yahoo Hydra and see if she can deploy the 700 million or so users of the company's products into areas which will grow revenue and allow Yahoo to become a serious competitor again.

In pre-market trading Yahoo shares were up 1.95% to $15.95 on the back of the news.