Marissa Mayer’s first 60 days as Yahoo! CEO

13 Sep 2012

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer

When former Google executive Marissa Mayer took the helm of Yahoo! as its new CEO two months ago, she was faced with the gargantuan task of turning the company’s fortunes around. Looking back over her first 60 days in the corner office, it’s clear Mayer’s focus has been on the people at Yahoo!

Mayer is Yahoo’s third CEO in 12 months and its fifth in five years.

Two days after she started her new job, Yahoo! reported second-quarter earnings of US$1.22bn. That figure is a 1pc increase on the previous year and afforded Yahoo! a flat operating profit of US$191m.

Those figures can be improved – by people.

Mayer has made changes at the top, with plans to reportedly review and approve each hire herself.

She hired one of her friends in the industry, former CEO of Lockerz Kathy Savitt, to replace Mollie Spillman as chief marketing officer.

Jacqueline Reses then came on board as executive vice-president of people and development, responsible for leading human resources and talent acquisition, as well as corporate and business development globally.

“As Yahoo! looks to develop and define its future, hiring, managing and incentivising talent will be of key importance,” Reses had said in a statement.

The ‘PB&J’ email

Also of note is an email Mayer sent to employees recently, on a Friday night.

In the email, Mayer, along with senior director of corporate projects at Yahoo! Patricia Moll Kriese, introduced ‘PB&J’, which stands for process, bureaucracy and jams. PB&J is an initiative to gather feedback and suggestions from Yahoo! employees on how to make their workplace better.

“Share your ideas on what would make your job easier, boost your productivity, and help solve problems,” the email reads.

Mayer and Kriese cited actions already taken, such as implementing Friday FYI staff meetings, eliminating mandatory orientation at the gym, providing employees at Yahoo!’s Sunnyvale, California, headquarters with free food in the cafeteria, and removing parking lot barriers and turning off the turnstiles at the Sunnyvale headquarters.

It’s still too soon to tell whether Mayer’s changes thus far have made any real impact on Yahoo!’s performance as a company.

Square CEO Jack Dorsey believes she will succeed, however. He told the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, California, on Monday that Mayer has “the drive, the commitment, the moral authority to change the company.”

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic