Google made Marissa Mayer rich and famous, and she clearly loved the place. But when it was time to go somewhere else for a better opportunity, Mayer did not stand on ceremony.
We’ve learned from a source familiar with the details of her dramatic hiring that Mayer only told her Google colleagues that she was headed out the door for the CEO job at Yahoo 30 minutes before the Yahoo board announced the news publicly on July 16.
So, if you live near Mountain View and you heard a strange sudden silence on July 16 at around 12:30 PM, now you know why.
Yahoo asked Mayer to delay telling her Google bosses until then because Yahoo was worried that Google would offer everything it could to keep her from going to such a high-profile job at a rival company.
We didn’t reach out to Yahoo PR for this story, because our source is good and they would say what they always say: “We don’t comment on rumours, speculation or internal matters.”
The news that Mayer split Google so swiftly pretty much debunks a whispered narrative that has begun to spread across the industry.
In this gossipy telling of things, Mayer’s move to Yahoo was all part of Google’s plan—an orchestrated plot to put an ally in charge of a declining Silicon Valley rival so that Google, through cozy deals and favourable partnerships, might be able to suck the remaining juices out of Yahoo while there was still marrow to be had.
But that theory doesn’t seem to stand up to evidence.
Besides the details of her hasty departure, consider Yahoo’s new plans for its ad-tech business.
Earlier this summer, Google was set to buy the whole thing from Yahoo for a few hundred million dollars. Yahoo corporate development executives even pitched the deal to the board. One Yahoo executive told us that Google revenue boss Nikesh Arora made a pitch suggesting that Yahoo would be able to cut 2,000 jobs and grow its EBITDA 50% making the deal.
The deal, which would have been a huge win for Google, looked like it was going to happen.
But then the Yahoo board hired Mayer instead of interim CEO Ross Levinsohn. And then, last week, the whole ad-tech deal was scotched.
Mayer—who has brought Googley perks to Yahoo like free food and smartphones for all—may be actively trying to make the place she works for more like her old employer. But it’s becoming pretty clear: She’s no stooge for Google. She’s no mole for Larry Page.
Here is what she has to do at Yahoo:
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