Nearly a month after assuming her position as Chief Executive Officer of Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO), Marissa Mayer’s personal changes in the company are becoming more Googley, while concentrating on improving the products and services of the company.
Many have observed the new chief executive officer is aiming to enhance the social media business of Yahoo, after reports of her plan to hire Katie Jacobs Stanton, head of International Markets of Twitter. The two worked together at Google (Nasdaq:GOOG), where Stanton served as product management leader of Google Finance. At that time, Stanton was Mayer’s superior.
According to analysts, Mayer wants Stanton to become part of the Yahoo Team because of her vast media experience and knowledge, and most importantly, she was instrumental in the development and success of the Yahoo Finance site. It is unclear how much and what role is being offered to Stanton, but many believe that it is significant, such as managing the Yahoo home page.
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The first Googler brought in by Mayer, to the Yahoo Team, was Anne Espiritu, who served as public relations manager for the search engine giant. Espiritu and Mayer worked closely on various marketing and media strategies for different products. Espiritu joined Yahoo’s Public Relations division.
It is reasonable for Mayer, or any executive, to bring in staff she believes are competent and talented in helping her improve the performance of the company. She also needs to implement strategies that would encourage and inspire all the employees of Yahoo, from the bottom up to the high-ranking executives. Teamwork is necessary for the company to achieve its goals.
Although outside observers raised their eyebrows when Mayer implemented the weekly, Friday afternoon all hands meeting, dubbed as “Friday FYI”, with free food, due to the fact that it part of the Google culture, Yahoo employees were excited and their spirits were uplifted as the new CEO emphasized and pushed the development of “Better Yahoo Services.” AllthingsD cited an unnamed source, who said Mayers move is a signal that “Yahoo is becoming a technology company again. It will be all about platforms and products.” Aside from pushing product innovation, she also wants to make the gloomy working environment of the employees brighter, as she is planning to transform the layout of the workspaces within the company.
Mayer also implemented a Q&A tool, to encourage the employees to talk about the most pressing issues within the company. The system is the same as Google Moderator, a corporate practice that ensures every voice is heard, allows the majority to decide, and encourages everyone to participate in brainstorming, share their ideas, opinions, and suggestions, and unleash their creativity.
A recent report cited the Yahoo Search and e-Mail as two of Mayer’s top priorities. The new CEO aims to regain the company’s dominance in these segments. She discussed her plans with its product leaders on how to achieve the goal. In addition, she also planning to acquire or develop web services in line with used in social networking and mobile devices.
Yesterday, the Yahoo submitted its Form 10-Qwith the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), with a statement that Mayer is evaluating the company’s business strategy, which could lead to a change of plan regarding the return of the profits from the sale of its Alibaba.com Limited (HKG:1688) stake to shareholders.
There is great possibility for Yahoo to keep the proceeds and use it to acquire companies to help boost its competitiveness and profitability. According to AllthingsD, Mayer is possibly targeting a purchase of Foursquare, co-founded by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadura, the company provides a free app that allows users to save and share the places they visited. Mayer pushed the acquisition of the company during her time at Google.
She might also be interested in acquiring the game developer Zynga (Nasdaq:ZNGA); Flipboard, a social reader app; Yelp (NYSE:YELP); Path, a free appp that allows users to keep a journal on the go; Pinterest, an online pinboard with social networking feature; Pulse, a news reading app, and Foodspotting, a visual restaurant app that helps users find delicious food.
A report from the Wall Street Journal cited that Mayer was given enough time by the company’s board of directors to strengthen the core advertising business of the company. Mayer is expected to announce her full strategic plan to turnaround Yahoo’s financial position after reviewing all its business segments. Based on the recent reports, Mayer will definitely innovate Yahoo’s search, e-mail, and social media business segments.