by Michael Tarsala
Yahoo (YHOO) may now has a story to tell -- as well as a new exec to tell it.
The hiring of Marissa Mayer as its new CEO comes as perhaps the biggest CEO announcement of 2012.
Mayer is no stranger to Silicon Valley, having worked at Google (GOOG) since 1999.
The Street may not be immediately impressed. She's not a turnaround artist. She's never been a CEO. She's the third CEO in a year. And it's assumed she has her work cut out for her boosting Yahoo's sales.
Nevertheless, here are reasons to think it's a strong hire:
Superior geek cred
Mayer was the first female engineer at Google. She managed Google's search business for the better part of 10 years, and was most recently in charge of Google Maps and its location-based services. Mayer received her B.S. in Symbolic Systems and her M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University, specializing in artificial intelligence for both degrees. She is credited as an inventor on several patents in artificial intelligence and interface design.
She is known, respected, and could help energize other engineers at Yahoo.
Her presence should help attract other top-tier talent from outside thee company. And she may even have enough star power to retain Yahoo's interim CEO Ross Levinsohn, someone the company could really use for his partnerships and relationship-building potential alone.
She's already struck a blow to Yahoo's biggest rival
Being Google employee #20, it's not as if Mayer took this Yahoo gig for the money. She must really believe that Yahoo is a company worth saving. And it's really a blow to Google, as at age 37, she was one of its top executives.
She's managed the launch of tons of Google advances, including Gmail, Google News, and the Google toolbar.
Mayer is going to be missed at the G-house.
Photo by Olivier Ezratty
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