A look at Yahoo, 1 year after Mayer takes over

July 16, 2013 6:42:59 PM PDT
Sunnyvale-based Yahoo is showing signs of improvement, one year after Marissa Mayer left Google to take over as CEO, but the improvements go beyond income and profits.

Yahoo reported better than expected quarterly profits on Tuesday, although revenue was down. Mayer says she doesn't want to be judged on that just yet because she is on a multi-step process to rebuild the program. The process starts with people, then products, and then profits.

CEO Marissa Mayer walked into a company in turmoil a year ago. There had been layoffs, engineers and other employees were leaving, but all that has stopped. In fact, Mayer told reporters and analysts on a webcast on Tuesday that 12 percent of recent hires are former employees returning to Yahoo.

"The people are here, the engine is now up and running, and as I hit my first year anniversary, it's clear we're now deep into our second sprint. The one around products and execution," said Mayer.

Products are what will bring users to Yahoo, Mayer says. And the more users, the more opportunity for advertisers to reach them and that's how Yahoo will make more money.

Quarterly earnings show Yahoo's financials are improving. Per share earnings are up, but what's also important is employees support their leader. The Glassdoor site that polls workers about their employers shows Mayer had a 91 percent approval rating a year ago, obviously reflecting a honeymoon period. It dipped a bit, but remained strong and it's rising again.

"So the fact that she's held a very strong CEO approval rating all four quarters is a very good indicator for Yahoo going forward, and it's really going to be interesting if she can maintain this or not," said Scott Dobroski, the Glassdor Community Coordinator.

And what do Yahoo employees say about Mayer on Glassdoor? On the pro side, a manager said, "The company is operating with a sense of vision an urgency that hasn't been seen since its very early days."

On the con side, a recruiter said, "Hiring approval process takes time, and we lose great engineers to competitors." Executive Editor Paul Sloan at CNET.com says Mayer's impact is yet to be seen.

"She still has a lot to prove and eventually, people -- Wall Street mainly -- may get restless," said Sloan.


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