In a stunning development, Yahoo has named long-time Google exec Marissa Mayer as the company’s CEO, both the New York Times and CNBC are reporting.
Mayer’s appointment will come as a surprise to both the Valley and the Street. Most observers had expected the job to go to interim CEO Ross Levinsohn, who has been running the company in the wake of the recent departure of former CEO Scott Thompson, who was pushed out in a scandal over inaccuracies in his resume.
Mayer, 37, recently had been responsible for Google‘s location-based services. She was employee #20 at Google. As the Times notes, Mayer has lately been stretching her reaching beyond Google, recently taking a seat on the Wal-Mart board, for instance.
The appointment instantly makes Mayer one of the most powerful women in the tech business, along with Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, IBM CEO Ginni Rommety and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
The story notes that Mayer resigned from Google today by phone, and will start work at Yahoo tomorrow.She will also join the Yahoo board.
Mayer told the Times that she “had an amazing time at Google,” but that ultimately “it was a reasonably easy decision” to take the top job at Yahoo. She appeared to have little change to reach the CEO level at Google, where Larry Page recently took over from Eric Schmidt.
Mayer told the Times that she intends to leverage Yahoo’s strong franchises in email, finance and sports.
Mayer said she was first approached about the job in June.
Clearly, Yahoo made the decision to provide the news on the change directly to the Times; as of right this minute the company has neither issued a press release or filed with the SEC to officially disclose the change. In fact, the headline on Yahoo Finance about the CEO change links to the Times story, and not to any official announcement from the company.