Chief Executive Officer and President of Yahoo!, Inc. - July 17, 2012-present
Former Positions at Google:
- Vice President, Local, Maps and Location Services - October 12, 2010 to July 16, 2012
- Vice President, Search Products and User Experience, November 2005-October 2010
- Director, Consumer Web Services, March 2003-November 2005
- Product Manager, July 2001-March 2003
- Software Engineer, June 1999-July 2001
Wausau West High School
Stanford University, Bachelor of Science in Symbolic Systems specializing in Artificial Intelligence
Graduated with honors June 1997
Master of Science in Computer Science specializing in Artificial Intelligence
Graduated June 1999
Honrary Doctorate of Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology - 2008
Childhood and Early Influences:
Laura Beckman Anecdote:
She credits her work ethic to a job as a supermarket cashier where she memorized produce codes in order to check out items as fast as employees who'd been there 20 years. Her highly competitive nature was apparent in her interview with the LA Times: "The more numbers you could memorize, the better off you are. If you had to stop to look up a price in a book, it totally killed your average." While experienced cashiers averaged 40 items per minute, Mayer held her own, averaging between 38-41 items per minute.
College and Graduate School:
As a high school senior, Mayer was accepted to all ten colleges she applied to, eventually turning down Yale to attend Stanford. She entered college thinking she'd be a pediatric neurosurgeon, but a required computer course for pre-med students intrigued and challenged her. She decided to study Symbolic Systems which included courses in cognitive psychology, philosophy, linguistics and computer science.
While at Stanford she danced in "The Nutcracker" ballet, engaged in parliamentary debate, volunteered at a children's hospital, was involved in bringing computer science education to schools in Bermuda and began teaching her junior year.
She continued on at Stanford for graduate school where friends recall she pulled all-nighters and often appeared in the same clothes she wore the day before.
Early Career Path:
Mayer served at the UBS research lab in Zurich, Switzerland for nine months and at SRI International in Menlo Park prior to joining Google.
Interview with Google:
At that time, Google only had seven employees and all the engineers were male. Realizing that a better gender balance would make for a stronger company, Google was eager for her to join the team but Mayer didn't immediately accept.
Over spring break, she analyzed the most successful choices she'd made in her life to see what they had in common. Decisions about where to go to college, what to major in, how to spend summers all seemed to revolve around the same two concerns: "One was, in each case, I’d chosen the scenario where I got to work with the smartest people I could find....And the other thing was I always did something that I was a little not ready to do. In each of those cases, I felt a little overwhelmed by the option. I’d gotten myself in a little over my head."
Career at Google:
Named a Vice President in 2005, Mayer's most recent role had her supervising the company's mapping products, location services, Google Local, Street View and many other products. During her 13-year tenure she led the product management effort for more than a decade during which Google Search grew from a few hundred thousand to over a billion searches per day.
Several patents in artificial intelligence and interface design carry her name as inventor. She has been very vocal in her support of smart product design, intense corporate teamwork and girl power.
Move to Yahoo
She assumed the reins at Yahoo as CEO on July 17, 2012, where she faces a tough battle to restore morale, confidence and profitability. Mayer is the company's third CEO in a year.
Mayer is an art collector and commissioned preeminent glass artist Dale Chihuly to create a 400-piece ceiling installation featuring blown glass sea flora and fauna. She also owns original art by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Sol LeWitt.
A cupcake aficionado, she's been known to study cupcake cookbooks, create spreadsheets of ingredients, and test versions of her own before writing new recipes. "I’ve always loved baking," she once told an interviewer. "I think it’s because I’m very scientific. The best cooks are chemists.'
She describes herself as "really physically active" and told the NYTimes that she's run the San Francisco half marathon, the Portland Marathon, and plans on doing the Birkebeiner, North America's longest cross country ski race. She's also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
She regards her ability to anticipate trends as one of her assets: "Back in about 2003, I correctly called cupcakes as a major trend. It was a business prediction, but it's been widely interpreted as [that] I just like them."
Other frequently-mentioned details about Mayer include her love of Mountain Dew and how little sleep she requires -- only 4 hours a night.
Awards and Honors
- Matrix Award by the New York Women in Communications
- Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum
- "Woman of the Year" by Glamour magazine
- Named one of Fortune's 50 Most Powerful Women in Business at age 33 making her the youngest woman ever to be included
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
- San Francisco Ballet
- New York City Ballet
- Wal-Mart Stores
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