Yahoo's latest CEO, Marissa Mayer, isn't wasting any time getting the turnaround ball rolling. Even as numbers about her pay scale and potential bonuses are hitting the news wires -- the pay package is reportedly as high as $100 million over the next five years if she can turn the company around -- Mayer is rallying the troops.
The former Googler's first internal memo confessed she has long been a Yahoo fan and said she is honored to join the company. Mayer called Yahoo an Internet icon and pointed to enormous opportunity ahead. Then she got "real."
"The company has been through a lot of change in the past few months, leaving many open questions around strategy and how to move forward. I am sensitive to this," Mayer wrote. "While I have some ideas, I need to develop a more informed perspective before making strategy or direction changes. In the meantime, please do not stop. You are doing important work. Please don't stop."
Mayer's Open-Door Policy
Mayer said companies are all about people, and the companies with the best talent win. Joining was an easy decision, she continued, because of the strength of Yahoo's talent. She committed to a continued investment in talent that will allow the company to produce what she called "the most compelling and exciting user experiences anywhere."
"Looking forward, we need to continue Yahoo's tradition of bold innovation, encourage creativity, and ultimately inspire and delight users and advertisers," Mayer wrote. "Please come by my office in building D on the third floor and say hello. I cannot wait to hear your ideas for Yahoo's future."
Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, noted that Mayer was fully critical to the launch of Google, and told us he believes she is more qualified to run Google than is Larry Page.
Mayer's Pregnancy Advantage
"We have the person who probably should be running Google running Yahoo. Page is still pretty weak as a CEO and she is far more balanced," Enderle said.
"I think Marissa was a far better hire than we thought Yahoo could get. They've been through so many CEOs. Yahoo has a high risk of being an end-your-career company because of the trouble. Folks with Marissa's pedigree can pretty much name their own ticket."
As Enderle sees it, Mayer's pregnancy could work to Yahoo's advantage. The coming maternity leave, he reasons, will force her to build a strong team. New CEOs tend to build weaker teams for fear that they will not be given enough time to turn a company around and don't want to be replaced too quickly, he explained.
"Usually in the early part of a turnaround it's marketing and finance that carries the load. All she has to do is articulate a vision," Enderle said. "Later on she's going to be called on much more heavily."
Enderle said it was a smart move to communicate what is essentially an open-door policy because Mayer can't go far without employee support. And, he said, if Mayer can't turn Yahoo around, nobody can.
"In a range of difficulty from 1 to 10, Yahoo is an 11. It's going to be a tough turnaround. On the other hand, they are cash positive and profitable. They are nowhere near in as bad a shape as Apple was or RIM is. So she could just pull from any number of playbooks," Enderle said. "This is going to be by no means easy, but there have been far worse companies that have been recovered."