Yahoo Inc. has hired Marissa Mayer, former executive at competitor Google to be the new CEO for the foundering Internet site. In itself that is a newsworthy event as women CEO’s at major players are still a rare occurrence. What makes this an extraordinarily newsworthy event is the fact that Ms. Mayer is expecting her first child, a son, who will be born in October.
The announcement generated a good deal of chatter in the business community and among those interested in advancing women in the technology industry. “If she succeeds, it will be a landmark case for women everywhere,” says Kevin Coyne, a management consultant who teaches business strategy at Emory University. “Women will talk about her for decades.” Directors at Yahoo appeared to be unconcerned about her pregnancy and were informed of the new CEO’s pregnancy prior to her selection.
Still, some executives expressed concern about the challenges she will be facing. For example, “”You don’t grow a human and turn around a company at the same time very easily,” says Julia Hartz, 32, president of Eventbrite Inc., an online ticketing service in San Francisco. Ellen Galinsky, president of the nonprofit Families and Work Institute, says Ms. Mayer will need to get used to dealing with unexpected situations, such as having to leave work for pediatrician visits.”
Ms. Mayer will certainly have her hands full, as Yahoo has just reported another quarter of lackluster sales growth. Bringing her “star power” from Google to Yahoo will hopefully energize employees at that struggling organization. Negotiating the glass maze has been a barrier to many women seeking to rise to the upper levels of management, but bit by bit it is starting to fracture. I wish Ms. Mayer the very best in the months and years ahead.
Dr. Jane ~ from the Café