Marissa Mayer: Sheryl Sandberg Set Stage for Her Move to Yahoo
by Jim Lundy
Last year I was at a Silicon Valley conference where Marissa Mayer gave the closing keynote, about performance management at Google. It was a straightforward, highly effective speech, and she delivered it with tremendous energy. Seeing her talk, my impression was simple: “She will go far.”
Marissa Mayer and the Sheryl Sandberg connection
Marissa Mayer isn’t the first female executive to leave Google; Sheryl Sandberg was the pioneer. Sheryl didn’t raise as many eyebrows when she left, probably because she didn’t take a CEO job. (I often wonder why Sheryl hasn’t jumped ship at Facebook, but now that their IPO is done, she may be looking.)
Many people, including a few at Forrester, have criticized Marisa’s move. We have to think that one reason for this Hail Mary pass by the Yahoo board was the hope that Marissa would bring lots of her Google friends with her. After all, the biggest issue in Silicon Valley is finding (and keeping) great talent.
Will Marissa Mayer make Yahoo Search More Relevant?
Marissa knows quite a bit about search engines and how they work. She will probably focus on making Yahoo Search more relevant initially. I suspect if the Board gives her time, she will have a significant impact on the Yahoo search offerings, particularly if she takes some bright Google engineers with her. We also suspect that she and Sheryl will now have even more reasons to talk.
One thing is certain: the ink on her contract isn’t even dry, and things just got a lot more interesting in Silicon Valley. Stay tuned.