In the past year, Yahoo has been the tech world's problem child. As (relatively) younger rivals Facebook and Google eclipsed Yahoo's initial dominance, the company desperately tried to reinvent itself. Yahoo hung around with the wrong crowd (e.g. former CEO Scott Thompson), fired 2,000 employees, and showed microscopic growth compared to Facebook and Google. And then, Yahoo hired Marissa Mayer, the first woman to be pregnant as a CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
But now, Yahoo's stock looks like it will get a boost after the board announced the new CEO. Yahoo's board unanimously appointed Google exec Marissa Mayer, nearly six months pregnant, to head the ailing internet company. Mayer's pregnancy ignited a debate in the blogosphere about balancing the responsibilities of a CEO and first-time motherhood. Forbes writer Jenna Goudreau noted that Mayer might be the first woman hired to be a CEO while she was pregnant. Whatever Mayer's pregnancy says about evolving attitudes about women's work-family balance, Yahoo’s decision reflects a bold gamble to innovate or recede into irrelevance. For the first time in several years, Yahoo is cool. An innovator.
The last time Yahoo was discussed in any depth was when the troubled company let go CEO Scott Thompson just four and a half months after he started for misrepresenting his credentials. CEO Marissa Mayer may be what the company needs to reclaim its spot among the internet giants. Not only is she pregnant, young (37-years-old), but also she cut her teeth at Google, Yahoo's chief competitor.
The public relations fall-out from Facebook's IPO and an aging Google provide an opportunity for Yahoo to re-brand itself. Mayer's appointment may be a new birth for the company.