Archive for the ‘scott thompson’ tag
New Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, well-known for her obsessive dedication to products like Google’s search and Gmail, isn’t wasting time on shaking up Yahoo’s complacent corporate attitude.
The former Google executive is pushing Yahoo to focus more on its products and users, a big shift from the business focused chief executives like Scott Thompson and Ross Levinsohn, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Mayer has previously said that she wouldn’t reveal any grand plans to fix Yahoo until she reviewed all of its businesses. But judging from the WSJ’s report, it sounds like Mayer hasn’t wasted much time in putting her touch on Yahoo. The philosophical shift is also particularly impressive considering she’s only been on the job for three weeks.
The report notes that Mayer has removed Yahoo’s stock ticker from its internal company website, a sign that employees should be more focused on Yahoo’s products instead of its finances. Mayer has also expressed interest in revamping Yahoo’s search experience (the underlying technology of which is powered by Microsoft’s Bing), as well as a plan to spread Yahoo’s content and ads throughout the web, sources tell the WSJ. Mayer is also now approving every new Yahoo hire, and she’s begun weekly “FYI meetings” to stay in touch with Yahoo employees.
For Yahoo, a company that has seemed like a black hole of innovation for the past decade, Mayer’s singular focus on products can only be a good thing. But it remains to be seen how much innovation Mayer can milk out of Yahoo’s existing products. The company could potentially buoy its products through acquisitions, but with only around $2 billion in cash on-hand, any purchases would have to be sure-fire successes to be worthwhile.
Photo JD Lasica/Flickr
Filed under: VentureBeat
PayPal is the granddaddy of the online payments space. It was the remora of eBay until the auction giant bought it in 2002. Last year, PayPal processed $119 billion in transactions and accounted for 38% of eBay’s revenue. In the past year, eBay’s stock (+52%) has well outperformed Google (+11%), Amazon (+16%), Facebook (-45%) and Groupon (-75%) as of Friday’s close. (Disclosure: I have options against Facebook and Groupon. Facebook’s and Groupon’s numbers are based on their respective IPOs.)
We’re now in the midst of a new transformation of the payments space. Giants like Google, PayPal, American Express, Visa, VeriFone and Groupon are fighting for wallet share. (Although Apple hasn’t officially announced anything, it’s only a matter of time.) Dozens of startups such as Square, Gopago, LevelUp, Swipely, and Cardspring are trying to either carve out their niche or get acquired by one of the big guys.
PayPal has been on an acquisition spree. In the past 18 months, it has acquired Where, Fig Card, Zong, and, most recently, Card.io.
PayPal has significant consumer awareness and adoption, with 113 million accounts.
The company has announced big initiatives to bring PayPal payments into the physical world. PayPal is now accepted at big box merchant Home Depot. At the other end of the spectrum, PayPal created an initiative called PayPal Here that competes head on with Square for the small and micro merchants.
PayPal has its challenges. It has a reputation of being difficult for merchants, providing a terrible consumer experience and being an unpleasant place to work.
I sat down with David Marcus, PayPal’s new president, at PayPal’s offices in San Jose to talk about the future of payments and PayPal. Marcus replaced Scott Thompson in March. After our conversation, PayPal PR took me through a tour of the PayPal Shopping Showcase, an impressive laboratory that PayPal uses to sell retailers on its vision of the future of mobile payments and to conduct consumer research.
Marcus wants PayPal to be a brand that consumers interact with every day. That’s a tall order; there are very few brands that do that.
“The beauty of payments is that you pay for stuff everyday,” Marcus said.
I left feeling that PayPal is thinking about the right problems in the right ways.
Some in Silicon Valley look at PayPal’s legacy and its corporate parent and dismiss it. That’s a mistake. If I had to pick a winner today between Google and PayPal, it would be PayPal, hands down. But I’m equally confident that the folks in Cupertino will have something to say about this soon.
Here is PayPal’s answer to Square. And after months of waiting, it’s finally here. I received my triangular dongle in the mail recently.
Marcus admits that PayPal was late to the party. Until now, PayPal hasn’t marketed Here, because it didn’t want to have a long line of people waiting for dongles before they could get them out. Marcus said that the dongles are now being shipped within a couple of days of a merchant signing up. PayPal plans to use eBay’s large merchant base as a marketing channel to reach small merchants for Here. Although he didn’t have a percentage, Marcus said that a large number of eBay merchants also have physical storefronts.
Although the software isn’t yet as elegant as Square, Here provides merchants a more complete solution than Square when it comes to payments. In addition to accepting credit cards, merchants can deposit checks into their PayPal account. Unlike Square, funds are available to spend immediately through a linked debit card. For merchants who handle both online and offline transactions, Here is a clear winner. It is also marginally less expensive than Square; but merchants who are worried about that tiny difference should be using a regular merchant account.
PayPal at retail
PayPal is making a big push into retail, allowing users to pay with PayPal at Home Depot, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Jos. A Banks. I’ve been highly critical of the experience. Instead of swiping a credit card, consumers can enter their phone number and a PIN to pay.
Although it has value to PayPal and to merchants (in the form of lower transaction costs), I’ve been hard pressed to find a meaningful consumer value proposition today. So was Marcus. He sees the real value of PayPal at retail in the future. (He hinted at features that were in the works but didn’t share any.)
The goal, Marcus said, was to make PayPal another option, not to displace existing payment mechanisms. “We have no ambition to process all the credit card transactions for Home Depot,” Marcus said.
When it announced its quarterly numbers, eBay also announced that PayPal is expected to process $10 billion in mobile transactions this year. Although it’s always tempting to compare numbers, this number is very different from the $6 billion in transaction volume that Square is expecting for 2012.
The $10 billion comes from eBay users who complete purchases with PayPal on their mobile devices, as well as merchants who use PayPal in their mobile products. (Tablets are included in the $10 billion number.) PayPal Here and PayPal at retail aren’t included in that number, but I doubt they would be meaningful.
Depending on the final tally for this year, I expect that to be between 5% and 8% of PayPal’s total transaction value this year.
I asked Marcus where he thought that mobile payment figure would be in five years. After getting the customary warning from a PayPal PR representative who was sitting with us, advising Marcus not to project numbers, Marcus said that in five years the lines will be so blurred that it wouldn’t matter. If someone researches a transaction online, reserves it, and then pays for it with a mobile phone, is that an online or mobile transaction?
“You won’t be able to tell the difference in that time,” Marcus said. “Everything will be converged.”
Those lines are blurring already. Yesterday, I placed an order using the new eBay Now app on my iPad. A courier picked it up from the Best Buy store in San Francisco and brought it to me. When he arrived, I used PayPal Here on his iPhone to pay. Is that an offline or online transaction? It it mobile or not?
One of the biggest issues I have with PayPal is that, at every step of the way, the user interface is designed not to accomplish what I want to do, but what PayPal wants me to do. I never, ever want to pay with my checking account. I want to use my credit because of the consumer protection benefits and the Starwood points I get with my American Express. PayPal would rather have me pay with my checking account because it makes more money that way. It’s a sore point every time I pay with PayPal.
“That will change,” Marcus said.
He wants PayPal to be a consumer-centric company at the same time that it serves merchants. He didn’t specify a timeframe, but he said that mobile will help drive that change.
The small screen size forces designers to focus on the user’s most essential tasks. “It’s a forcing function for simplification,” Marcus said. “As a result of that, the Web experience will be a lot simpler.”
User experience also extends far beyond just a Web site or mobile app. It extends to every interaction with the consumer. “Historically, PayPal hasn’t been good at product marketing,” Marcus said. “This is a muscle we’re building.”
For a product like PayPal Here, this includes something as mundane as the packaging that the dongle arrives in. PayPal did a great job. To be fair, the packaging design is a blatant ripoff of Square’s package design. The one improvement I saw in an earlier PayPal Here package prototype — corrugated paper instead of foam — was replaced with plastic in the version being sent to merchants. But both companies ship the dongle complete with an attractive window cling that shows that your business takes credit cards and concise instructions on how to get started.
Data and interchange
Transaction data is going to be a big battleground. That’s one of the motivations for Google’s push into payments. Transaction data is one of the most powerful tools that can be used for offer targeting and personalization. I suggested to Marcus that some retailers may not want want to share line-item transaction information with a company like PayPal. He responded that PayPal already had more data than it uses.
The contention for data will also exist with card networks. Card networks have liked PayPal because many of its transactions have been additive. The eBay buyer who otherwise would have been using a money order means more volume, which translates into more data and more interchange fees for the card networks. But if a PayPal transaction replaces a Visa transaction at Home Depot, that means less data and less interchange.
PayPal Shopping Showcase
Inside its headquarters, PayPal has built a fake mall to showcase the future of payments. There’s a clothing retailer, a fruit stand, hardware store, grocery store and coffee shop. Josh Schoonmaker, the showcase’s manager, showed me around.
PayPal uses it to show retail executives how they can incorporate PayPal into their retail experiences. Schoonmaker showed off a number of concepts:
- A window display with QR codes. A shopper walking by when the store is closed can scan the QR code and order the item for pickup. When the order is placed, the clerk has access to the shopper’s history and can be prepared with upsells to matching items when the customer comes in.
- In the hardware store, we saw a barbecue grill that had been ordered online. It was paid for using the PayPal wallet, which contained a store gift card. An offer was automatically generated for a grill tool set.
- At the grocery store, we paid using a phone number. (This is the experience currently offered at Home Depot.) A receipt arrived by email.
- In the coffee shop, we could order ahead and walk to the front of the line to pick up our prepaid espresso.
Although some of these are just conceptual, they show that PayPal is thinking deeply about the best ways to integrate offline and online shopping experiences.
Just as important, PayPal is thinking about the right way to sell these concepts to merchants. Retailers are not technology visionaries. Having a tangible experience is key to selling them on the future of selling.
Shopping is not a perfectly rational activity. (How else can you explain Chia Pet?)
That’s something a lot of startups who are chasing the space fail to understand. A lot of psychology goes into a shopping experience, and just as much needs to go into trying to change it.
Schoonmaker explained that when you offer features like “skipping the line,” which allows users to order and prepay for coffee, there also needs to be corresponding signage. People are uncomfortable just walking to the front of the line and appearing to cut in front of everyone. Like elite lines at airports, there needs to be signs that implicitly give some people permission to cut the line. (And serve as a marketing vehicle to encourage other people to sign up for the service.)
You don’t get that by whiteboarding product features. The best way to get that is by watching consumers in action. (Paco Underhill’s “Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping” is a good read on the subject.)
PayPal also uses its showcase to introduce consumers to new concepts in payments and get their feedback.
Being part of eBay
Having a large business within a large business is always a challenge.
Of course, eBay was instrumental to PayPal’s early success. eBay users needed a way to pay. Before PayPal, paying online to small merchants was painful. I was an eBay seller back then. After an auction closed, I had to hound the buyer for payment. I provided my street address, the buyer went and purchased a money order, mailed it to me, I had to verify that it looked legitimate, then I shipped out the product. A best case scenario was a three-day turnaround, with many transactions taking a week or more. PayPal cut that time to minutes.
Even today, eBay accounts for about 67% of PayPal’s transaction volume, according to eBay’s quarterly report.
“We are blessed with an unbelievable business,” Marcus said. But the downside is that it provides the ability and incentive to not innovate, he said. It’s easier to just not rock the boat. But, “there is huge upside if we ship the right products.”
Recruiting and culture
eBay and PayPal have long had a reputation as terrible places to work, especially for engineers. As it happened, I was having lunch with a top engineer before my trip to PayPal. When I mentioned that I was headed to interview PayPal’s head, he expressed his disdain for the company’s culture. A friend who is a high-profile recruiter in Silicon Valley promised to smack me if I ever went to work for PayPal.
As with anything in Silicon Valley, being able to compete for top talent is going to be a big determinant of whether PayPal succeeds. I asked Marcus how he would compete with the likes of Square, which is often perceived to be the next hot startup.
Marcus said they’ve shifted from the old model where engineers and product managers sat far apart. Product managers would write 100-page PRDs and ship them over the wall to engineers who would build them without regard to whether the features made sense. A year later, you’d have a product that most likely didn’t meet the needs of a rapidly changing market. Now, they sit together and iterate more frequently.
As we chatted, Max Metral, who is leading up PayPal Here was walking by. He joined PayPal as part of the Fig Card acquisition last year.
“I’ve never had more fun,” Metral said. “And I’m at PayPal.”
PayPal also has more than 100 million people signed up. The payments business involves a lot of drudge work, including partnerships and regulatory regimes. (For example, to do what PayPal does legally, you must be a licensed money transmitter, which is a state-by-state process.) Much of that work has already been done, and you can just focus on building great consumer experiences, Marcus said.
Marcus said he has a lot of top engineers knocking on his door because of the new culture and PayPal’s significant resources.
Such statements are always hard to assess. Every big company claims it is like a startup and wants to empower employees and cut bureaucracy. Very few actually do. But Marcus’ pitch was convincing enough that I’d actually entertain a conversation, whereas a few years ago I’d never return a call from eBay.
[Top image credit: PayPal]
After Scott Thompson’s unceremonious departure from Yahoo’s CEO spot earlier this year, Ross Levinsohn took over as the company’s interim chief executive — and for a while there, he was widely expected to eventually be named Yahoo’s permanent CEO.
And now it’s official that Levinsohn will not be sticking around to see how it plays out. His last day is tomorrow.
The news was first reported in a post today by AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher, which was followed this afternoon by Yahoo filing regulatory documents officially confirming that Ross Levinsohn will leave Yahoo, effective July 31.
Though his ego may have been bruised by Mayer’s appointment as CEO, he will not be walking out empty-handed: In the document, Levinsohn’s departure is classified as “termination without cause,” which makes Levinsohn eligible for a pretty nice severance package per his contract. This includes a cash payment equal to his annual base salary, his target annual bonus, and accelerated vesting of a number of his stock awards and options. Before he became Yahoo’s interim CEO, Levinsohn worked at Yahoo as an EVP and head of global media. Last year, his base salary was $700,000.
Yahoo has issued a separation agreement signed by Marissa Mayer, which details boilerplate clauses such as non-disparagement and non-compete. In the end, just before Mayer’s signature, is a terse valedictory: “I wish you good luck in your future endeavors.” Levinsohn’s executive background is solid, and he’s quite well-respected in the worlds of both tech and media — so it will certainly be interesting to see what those endeavors are.
Thompson attracted a lot of attention when he moved from PayPal to being Yahoo’s CEO. But just a few months after he was hired to replace previous CEO Carol Bartz, Thompson resigned for overstating the credentials on his resume in SEC documents. Now, former Googler Marissa Mayer has been tapped to lead Yahoo and help the ailing tech company find its way back to relevance.
The new gig at ShopRunner will be a considerable step down for Thompson. ShopRunner makes it possible to get 2-day free shipping from many major retailers, including Toys R Us, Petsmart, GNC, American Eagle, and more, but it charges members $79 a year. It’s essentially a large-scale counter to Amazon Prime, which gives Amazon members free 2-day shipping and free streaming videos for $79 a year.
Thompson believes his time at PayPal has prepared him for ShopRunner:
“Joining ShopRunner is a tremendous opportunity to build on the strong foundation that the company has already established,” he said in a statement. “While PayPal and ShopRunner are fundamentally different businesses, there are similarities in each of their success. Both companies are focused on building the broadest network of satisfied merchants by providing the value that creates a large and loyal customer community, creating a virtuous circle.”
Scott Thompson photo: Yahoo/Flickr
Filed under: VentureBeat
Scott Thompson wordt CEO van het Amerikaanse ecommercebedrijf ShopRunner. In mei nam Thompson gedwongen afscheid van Yahoo na leugens over zijn cv.
Yahoo has been around the block once or twice when it comes to picking out its CEOs, and it may be a little more protective with latest tap, Marissa Mayer. Mayer was not on the company’s earnings call today, and did not provide future financial guidance to give her time to settle in.
“Obviously this is a very exciting and dynamic day to have our earnings call. Since this is Marissa’s first day on the job she will not be joining us on the call today,” said Morse on the earnings call today. “I’m sure you’ll hear from her soon.”
Of course, with a new CEO in place, you can really expect the earnings call to go more like this:
Analyst: What color is the sky today?
Morse: Well, I haven’t yet had that opportunity to go outside. So, it’s hard to tell at this point. The blinds are currently shut. They may open later, at which point I will be able to give you more.”
Of course, Mayer had nothing to do with Yahoo’s performance this quarter, and would only be inundated with questions about her future at Yahoo, which she is undoubtedly figuring out as we speak.
“Marissa was named in the last 24 hours, needs to time to get in, get acclimated, get to know the business,” said Morse. “We haven’t discussed guidance with her yet.”
Interim CEO Ross Levinsohn was also missing from the call.
She follows Carol Bartz, who was fired in early September 2011 with a bit of fanfare when she told Fortune, “These people fucked me over.” Next came Scott Thompson, who lasted four months in the position before being ousted after padding his resume with a fake degree in computer science.
The person who initiated the investigation into Thompson’s past, majority outstanding shareholder Dan Loeb, is now on Yahoo’s board of directors.
Mayer is the third in the line of CEOs unless you count interim CEOs Tim Morse, Yahoo’s CFO, and Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo’s head of global media, in which case she’s fifth.
Mayer officially resigned from Google Monday, and began her first day on the job today. She was Google’s first female engineer, and its twentieth employee overall. But while she held an executive position at Google, was credited with the company’s sleek homepage design, and was otherwise a Google figurehead, VentureBeat writer Jolie O’Dell suggests she had no more room to move up. And thus, she moved out and up to Yahoo, a primarily media company with a bit of an identity problem.
This is total conjecture here so you can choose to read on or not. Yesterday’s rather abrupt move by former head of Google’s local efforts and long time Googler, Marissa Mayer, to become CEO of the troubled former Internet icon Yahoo, was a surprise to say the least.
It was a surprise in the abrupt nature of the news as well as the where Mayer landed. Let’s just say that Yahoo hasn’t exactly been the home of the best and the brightest in the tech industry with regard to leadership in recent years. Carol Bartz’s reign was not a success. Scott Thompson’s time at the helm was short and ended in a bizarre fashion. Now, we have one of the Internet industry’s darlings taking over a reported mess in what seems a rather quick (possibly hasty?) move.
As Andy Beal pointed out in his post from yesterday
Why in the world would Mayer leave her high profile position at Google? The quick answer? It wasn’t high profile enough. And, there were two good reasons why she would likely never become CEO of Google…Page & Brin. So, facing a ceiling that was more like concrete than glass, Mayer jumped ship.
Now for the wondering part. Mayer was placed in charge of local at Google close to two years ago and the talk at the time was that the move could have been perceived as a demotion. Business Insider said at the time.
Was Marissa Mayer’s move to a new position at Google – from search products to local – actually a step down for one of the company’s most visible employees?
“Unless she came in one day and asked for a change after 10 years of working on the same thing, the answer is probably yes,” says a source familiar with Google’s internal politics.
Another source, also familiar with Google’s inner-workings told us it would “not really” be fair to call the move a demotion, “but I can see how some may see it that way.”
Along with that move though was her appointment to the company’s operating committee which was certainly a very big deal. Oh and by the way, all of the happened before Larry Page took over as CEO as well.
Fast forward to today and Google’s local efforts are abit of a mess. The recent move by Google to eliminate their Place Page offering and instead set up the forced use of Google+ Local has created a lot of confusion for local businesses. I spoke with one this morning that had their listing fall into the ‘We currently do not support this location’ black hole that has created trouble for so many small businesses who did nothing to earn this exile from local results. Meanwhile businesses using UPS stores as addresses for locations go merrily along their way, against the terms of service and stay listed. As far as I can tell, Google local is a bit of a cluster right now. That’s not good.
According to Liz Gannes of All Things D Google has no immediate plans to replace Mayer with a single person so who knows who will have the responsibility of making it better.
New Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer won’t be directly replaced at Google, where until Monday she was VP of local, maps and location services.
Mayer’s duties will be filled by her lieutenants, according to two sources with knowledge of the organization.
Mayer’s product list included Google Maps, Google Earth, Zagat, Street View and local search for both desktop and mobile. She is handing off those responsibilities on short notice, after abruptly resigning today.
To be fair this move did seem rather abrupt and may have surprised the folks in Mountain View. I doubt that succession planning for Mayer was top of mind for an employee that had helped build the company from the early days (Mayer was Google employee #20).
But Google’s recent plays to get Google+ more traction took on a decidedly local flavor and the execution has seemed forced and, at times, very sloppy. Local search experts are trying to figure out exactly what is going on and what to expect from Google in the near term. This move by Mayer and non-move by Google is not likely to make any short term pain that the local efforts are feeling go away any time soon.
So what about the SMB’s of the world who are still scratching their heads over what to do with their local presence in Google in light of lost reviews and more? They are left holding the bag. Google’s local product must be something that Mayer figured may be beyond repair. Why would I say that? Mainly because she was heralded as a great product person by those still at Google. Here are words from Google’s Chariman Eric Schmidt
“I worked with Marissa for many years — she’s a great product person, very innovative and a real perfectionist who always wants the best for users. Yahoo has made a good choice and I am personally very excited to see another woman become CEO of a technology company. Best wishes to Marissa and Yahoo!”
OK. So if she is perfectionist she may have ended up going bald from pulling her out as she watched the local efforts of Google. While there have been steps taken to improve the local efforts Google’s local efforts are notorious for poor or no support. It also seems that every question about why something happens in Google local needs a flow chart to follow the many possible causes and responses that are offered. Maybe she saw a better shot at cleaning up Yahoo v. trying to clean up Google local and the spectre of Google+? Now that is saying something.
Like I said, this is simply me thinking out loud. A move like this, however, has two sides usually. Sure she needed to see great opportunity at where she was headed but she also had to feel pretty confident that where she was headed had more hope than where she was coming from, right? It’s not like she needs the money. She wants to make an impact. Are Google’s local efforts that far off track?
What do you think?
Marissa Mayer was Google’s 20th employee, joining them in 1999. She was responsible for most of the user interfaces you saw on Google up until a couple years ago.
Here is a timeline of her titles at Google since 1999:
- Vice President, Local, Maps & Location Services: October 2010 â” July 2012
- VP, Search Products & User Experience: November 2005 â” October 2010
- Director, Consumer Web Services: March 2003 â” November 2005
- Product Manager, Google.com: July 2001 â” March 2003
- Software Engineer : June 1999 â” July 2001
This woman had everything. She is incredibly rich from Google’s IPO. She is incredibly famous in the tech world. She has an incredible reputation. She is incredibly well liked.
What else can she want? To prove that she can turn around an ailing old internet company that has been failing for over five years? But this can also be incredibly risky. Look at the past CEOs and what has happened to their reputations.
- Scott Thompson‘s reputation is now ruined.
- Carol Bartz looks like an angry woman
- Jerry Yang left the company he founded
- Terry Semel was ousted
Here is the timeline for Yahoo CEOs (some interim):
- Marissa Mayer (2012-Present)
- Ross Levinsohn Interim (2012)
- Scott Thompson (2012)
- Tim Morse Interim (2011-2012)
- Carol Bartz (2009-2011)
- Jerry Yang (2007-2009)
- Terry Semel (2001-2007)
- Timothy Koogle (1995-2001)
I think Marissa wants to prove herself, that she can do what five CEOs before her could not do. Turn around Yahoo. It is a huge risk but honestly, I personally feel (I have no proof or inside knowledge) that she was pushed aside at Google two years ago and hasn’t been able to do much to make a different at Google since then. Yea, mobile is huge at Google but I get the feeling she wasn’t the ultimate decision maker on that. That being said, I have no proof of any of that. But her taking on a role at Yahoo makes me feel that is the case even more so.
Mayer said, “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.”
And for another bombshell, Marissa announced she is pregnant and due in October:
â” marissamayer (@marissamayer) July 17, 2012
Danny has a nice piece on what this means for Yahoo and search at Search Engine Land.
While Yahoo has finally made its first step into what will hopefully be a path to much needed stability with the appointment of Marissa Mayer as CEO, the company still has quite a battle in front of it both to boost its numbers and to raise its stock price.
The aging web portal did moderately well during the last quarter, but we’ll have to wait and see if this momentum continued despite the turbulence of a proxy battle with major Yahoo investor Third Point, the departure of Scott Thompson as CEO, and the temporary appointment of Ross Levinsohn to the top spot.
Yahoo posted $1,077 million in total revenue in Q1 2012, with a one percent increase compared to the same quarter last year. Its net earnings were up $0.23 per share at a 38 percent increase year-over-year. Wall Street is bracing investors for a slump in the following quarter’s earnings, which will be announced tomorrow along with a Q2 earnings call. Analysts expect Yahoo to post total revenue of $1.09 billion, down 11.3 percent compared to $1.23 billion last year, according to investment research firm Zacks. Net earnings, however, are expected to rise 5.3 percent at $0.20 per share compared to the same period in 2011.
If Yahoo does end up beating estimates, it’s likely that Levinsohn — not Thompson, who was dealing with defending his resume as well as a cancer diagnosis — will assume most of the credit.
Marissa Mayer, the technology executive who has worked at Google since the search company’s earliest days, has been appointed CEO of Yahoo.
The news was first reported by the New York Times. The company has confirmed the appointment in a press release, which is embedded in full below.
Mayer’s first day will be tomorrow, which is also when Yahoo’s next quarterly earnings call is slated to take place.
It’s been a tough few years for Yahoo — and its last CEO Scott Thompson departed under less than ideal terms — so the appointment of Mayer is clearly meant to be a fresh start for the long-running Silicon Valley company.
There’s no question that Marissa Mayer is certainly a catch for Yahoo. After receiving a B.S. in symbolic systems and her M.S. in computer science from Stanford (no fudged engineering credentials here) she started at Google in 1999 as the company’s 20th employee and its first female engineer. Since then she has stayed on with the company and served as one of its most public faces, making appearances on the tech conference circuit, network television morning shows, evening newscasts such as Charlie Rose, and even as a frequent TechCrunch Disrupt judge.
That this news is surprising is an understatement — it’s fair to say that most people in tech did not see this coming from a mile away. But when you dig into it, it makes sense. Most recently, it had appeared that Mayer’s role at Google had been scaled back a bit. As part of a Google re-organization some 18 months ago, she moved from a role as VP of search product to a somewhat lower-visibility role as VP of location and local services. With that job change, she was shifted off of Google’s highest strata of executives, according to people familiar with the company.
These shifts may have made her a bit more open to considering new offers — and made an opportunity like this too attractive to pass up. Yahoo’s luster may be a bit faded, but it is still a major, publicly-traded company. It will be very exciting to see what Mayer brings to the table as CEO.
Here is Yahoo’s full statement regarding Mayer’s appointment:
SUNNYVALE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) today announced that it has appointed Marissa Mayer as President and Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors effective July 17, 2012. The appointment of Ms. Mayer, a leading consumer internet executive, signals a renewed focus on product innovation to drive user experience and advertising revenue for one of the world’s largest consumer internet brands, whose leading properties include Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! Mobile, Yahoo! Mail, and Yahoo! Search.
Mayer said, “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.”
Most recently, Mayer was responsible for Local, Maps, and Location Services for Google, the company’s suite of local and geographical products including Google Maps, Google Earth, Zagat, Street View, and local search, for desktop and mobile. Mayer joined Google in 1999 as its 20th employee and led efforts for many of Google’s most recognizable products, including the development of its flagship search product and iconic homepage for over 10 years. Mayer managed some of Google’s most successful innovations, launching more than 100 features and products including image, book and product search, toolbar, iGoogle, Google News, and Gmail — creating much of the “look and feel” of the Google user experience.
Yahoo! Co-Founder David Filo said, “Marissa is a well-known, visionary leader in user experience and product design and one of Silicon Valley’s most exciting strategists in technology development. I look forward to working with her to enhance Yahoo’s product offerings for our over 700 million unique monthly visitors.”
“The Board of Directors unanimously agreed that Marissa’s unparalleled track record in technology, design, and product execution makes her the right leader for Yahoo! at this time of enormous opportunity,” said Fred Amoroso, Chairman of the Board of Directors.
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.
“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,” Mayer said.