To clarify, I’m not referring to your typical may o r that’s elected chief executive official of a city, town, or other municipality. Instead, I’m referring to Marissa May e r, ranked by Fortune as the 14th most powerful women in business, and elected CEO of Yahoo Inc. in 2012. When I heard that she would arrive as CEO of Yahoo Inc. mid-July of last year, I immediately bought stocks (YHOO) in this high-tech company at approximately $14 per share (USD). Today, the stock is worth about $28 per share and has risen ~75% since Mayer’s arrival as CEO.
So how did I know that Yahoo would be a good investment upon her arrival and why am I writing about this now?
Let me answer the latter first. I’m writing about this now because I wanted a 1 year proven track record of Yahoo’s turn-around since Mayer’s arrival last year. I must admit that I’m currently satisfied with the results and still believe that the company has more to offer in the foreseeable future, hence why it may still be a worthwhile investment at ~$28 / share. Let me explain my reasons for believing so.
As we’re aware, the success of any organization heavily depends on their leaders, especially the CEO. So it only makes sense to analyze Marissa Mayer first to determine if Yahoo has any chances for a rebound. Former VP of Google, and currently on the Board of Directors at Walmart, Mayer brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Yahoo Inc. Not only did she receive her B.S. in “Symbolic Systems” and her M.S. in “Computer Science” from Stanford University but also specialized in “artificial intelligence” for both degrees.
At 38, Mayer is a young CEO with a reputation of being incredibly smart, hard-working, and energetic. Her credibility, charisma, along with her knack for talent development and passion for products aided with Yahoo’s recent turn-around. Probably what surprised me most was her dedication to her new role. Not only was she pregnant at the time she took over as CEO for Yahoo but also gave birth to a healthy baby boy and quickly returned to work without skipping a beat. In fact, her dedication also paved way to a national debate because of new policies she enforced that prohibited employees from working at home.
In essence, Marissa Mayer has been a Silicon Valley icon for more than a decade now with features in various publications, such as the New York Times, Fortune, and BusinessWeek for her global achievements. Plus, with Yahoo’s infrastructure and loyal following of millions of users daily, I felt that the company was a good investment at an affordable price. Here are other key changes at Yahoo that led to the company’s resurrection and returned hundreds of millions of dollars back to shareholders:
- Ownership (~25%) in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and increased popularity of Yahoo Japan.
- Improved employee-relationship with free food and smartphones similar to Google’s approach.
- Revamping core products, such as Flickr, along with acquiring many start-up’s like the popular social-blogging platform Tumblr for $1.1 billion in an effort to become cool, hip, and relevant again.
- Removed red-tape by instituting an internal online service for process, bureaucracy, and jams (PB&J) enabling employees to voice their opinions for organizational improvements.
- Released new Yahoo Mail and Weather apps impressing millions of global users daily.
- Restructuring organization as a media company focused on the mobile age by providing users with daily content on tablets, smartphones, etc.
These are just some of the major changes that revamped Yahoo Inc. To me, the largest improvements that Mayer made upon her arrival pertains to releasing products that engaged consumers daily, along with changing the company’s public relations (PR) to the point where there’s hope for the company now. Yahoo continues to attract top talent while leveraging other business infrastructures to their advantage for achieving goals and objectives. Although truly changing an organizational culture takes years, at least we’re headed in the right direction and stock prices have continually gone up since her arrival.
My bet is that they’ll continue to do well, especially under the helm of the new “mayer” in town!