This Changes Everything for Yahoo!

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Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) has been rudderless since May, when CEO Scott Thompson left in a cloud of resume-faking scandal. Interim helmer Ross Levinsohn became Yahoo!'s fourth CEO in a span of eight months, dating back to when Carol Bartz got the boot from a disappointed board.

Well, Levinsohn's days in the captain's chair are over. And this time, the new Chief Yahoo! might actually have a shot at turning this sinking boat around.

Say hello to Marissa Mayer, employee No. 20 when Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) was but a young search-engine pup and Yahoo!'s new CEO.

Mayer is the kind of Silicon Valley superstar whom other companies dream about putting in their executive suites but never get the chance. At Google, she was a leader and a visionary, credited with important moves and design decisions like the uncluttered search interface and the head-turning Gmail service.

This is not quite like luring Tim Cook out of Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) when he served as COO under Steve Jobs, but it's close to snagging Cupertino's design guru, Sir Jonathan Ive. This hire is as unexpected as it is promising. After all, Mayer would hardly take the CEO position at a dead-end company. It's a vote of confidence in the online veteran's assets, though I'd expect her to take the business in a dramatically new direction.

If I could tell you exactly what the new strategy will look like, I'd be pulling down seven-figure paychecks in Silicon Valley. But I do expect the Yahoo! empire to grow simpler, tighter, and more elegant in the coming months. That's how Mayer rolls, after all.

Add the stock to your Foolish Watchlist and watch as the company becomes more like the two takes on industrial sophistication espoused by Google and Apple, and less like the fatally sprawling AOL. Marissa Mayer understands that consumers respond to elegant tools and services, and in my mind that could make all the difference.

Yahoo! may have found its CEO for the next decade right here. I have a bullish CAPScall riding on Yahoo!, and I suddenly feel a lot more comfortable with that pick.

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Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google but holds no other position in any of the companies mentioned. Check out Anders' holdings and bio, or follow him on Twitter and Google+. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and Google. We Fools don't all hold the same opinion, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (11)

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  • Report this Comment On July 18, 2012, at 10:47 AM, Zinj wrote:

    Boo -

    that's not a fair photo to post. I know very little about this woman, but writing her up with a photo that makes her look like a clown seems very slanted. Any among us could be portrayed the same way. I doubt this is the photo she would have chosen herself for a profile piece.

  • Report this Comment On July 18, 2012, at 12:42 PM, whereaminow wrote:

    She's a big Obama donor. Yahoo might be making a political play here.

    David in Liberty

  • Report this Comment On July 18, 2012, at 12:44 PM, StopPrintinMoney wrote:

    nothing will save Y!

    it's business model is so outdated, and they're very slow when trying to catch up with competition.

    i am actually surprised people are still using their services.

  • Report this Comment On July 18, 2012, at 2:39 PM, PedalHard41 wrote:

    So, Yahoo has email, maps and search engine... Google has email, maps and search engine; where's the diff... GOOG = $580+, YHOO = $15+. Yahoo believes its customers enjoy relentless T&A ads, sometimes animated; must be the reason for the difference in stock price...

  • Report this Comment On July 18, 2012, at 3:30 PM, IdahoAve wrote:

    Zinj - AGREED! get a better photo, why use that one?

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