Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Time Inc.
Vice president of consumer products for Google Marissa Mayer speaks onstage at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Dinner New York City at Hudson Room at the Time Warner Center on May 24, 2011 in New York City.
In what is being trumpeted as a rare coup for the struggling tech giant, Yahoo has named Marissa Mayer its new chief. Several hours after that surprising announcement, Mayer had one of her own – she’s expecting her first child in October.
As a top executive at Google for more than a decade, Mayer, 37, is credited with shaping many of Google's most high-profile pages including the clean, white search page, then heading up its location services, such as Google Maps.
So why would she leave the gigantic innovator for yesteryear's Internet brand? Mayer says "it was a reasonably easy decision." In an interview with The New York Times, Mayer calls Yahoo "one of the best brands on the Internet." She says her business strategy will focus on e-mail, finance and sports coverage, as well as video broadband.
As for her strategy for maternity leave, Mayer said that she’ll take only a few weeks off and will probably work from home during that time. Mayer is easily one of the youngest CEOs of a Fortune 500 company. Most of the young’uns on that list are in their forties, other than Facebook's 28-year-old Mark Zuckerberg. And while she is respected for a long list of successes, Yahoo needs a sure thing to reinvigorate its lagging brand.
Who's taking the bigger risk – Yahoo or Mayer? Will Mayer use her insider knowledge of Google to help Yahoo? Does it matter how young she is? Will her high-profile hire open doors for more women in tech? Will she use her status as a CEO mom to help working mothers gain more rights in the workplace?
Matt DeBord, senior reporter and business blogger for KPCC. He writes The DeBord Report for KPCC.org