Marissa Mayer

DEFINITION of 'Marissa Mayer'

Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo as of 2014, was born in 1975 in Wausau, Wisconsin. She attended Stanford, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in symbolic systems and artificial intelligence and a Master’s degree in computer science with an emphasis on artificial intelligence. While there, she also taught computer science to thousands of undergraduate students and received awards for her teaching. Mayer also holds an honorary doctorate in engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

After graduating, Mayer received numerous job offers and chose to begin her career at Google in 1999 as the company’s 20th employee. She worked there until 2012 as an engineer, designer, product manager and executive and held several vice president positions in different departments. Initially, she worked on high-profile projects like the site’s homepage, but later appeared to be demoted to the seemingly less important Google Maps. Still, in her 13 years at the company, she accomplished a great deal. She also worked on Google Earth, Street View, Search, Gmail and Google News during her tenure. She was in charge of approving the unique Google doodles on the site’s home page. She also founded a program at Google that is recognized as an industry standard for developing computer science graduates into executives. Some of her work at Google led to her being named as an inventor on several patents.

When she left Google to become CEO of Yahoo at age 37, the position was expected to go to Yahoo’s then-interim CEO Ross Levinsohn. At the time, the company was performing poorly and she was its fifth CEO in as many years. One year after Mayer took over, Yahoo’s stock price had doubled, and she earned nearly $25 million in salary and stock options for her work in 2013. Fortune magazine included her on its 40 Under 40 list in 2013 for her accomplishments as a business leader. It also named her to its 50 Most Powerful Women in Business list.

Mayer is married and has a son. She has served as a director on several boards, including Yahoo, Aliph, Walmart, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the New York City Ballet. 

Mayer is also known for putting the customer experience before pleasing shareholders and for eliminating a Yahoo policy that allowed employees to work from home.

BREAKING DOWN 'Marissa Mayer'

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