Yahoo? Marissa Mayer's first year as CEO

The longtime Googler has worked at breathing new life into a venerable Internet company. Has it worked?

An influential person for sure
Credit: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

It's been just over a year since Yahoo surprised everyone by hiring Google employee #20, Marissa Mayer, as CEO. Yahoo hasn't exactly overtaken her old employer yet, but the company has made some bold moves and is no longer on death watch. How'd she do it?

'This. This is what I'm talking about.'
Credit: REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

Mayer quickly demanded that Yahoo get itself up to speed for the new world of mobile. Though the fruits of this initiative aren't public yet, there are hints of what's coming: Yahoo bought location discovery app Alike and acqui-hired iOS devs to revamp its Flickr app, and Mayer hinted that mobile email is a product that nobody's gotten right yet.

But ... but it still works perfectly fine

Perhaps in an attempt to get the Yahoos in a more modern mobile mindset, Mayer implemented a program where all Yahoo employees, even part-timers, could get a new smartphone and subsidized data plan, with their choice of phone ... unless you want to choose a BlackBerry, in which case forget it, because old BlackBerry-using squares like you are part of Yahoo's problem, buddy.

Sad doggie will miss you while you're at the office

One of Mayer's controversial moves was to curtail the company's widespread telecommuting culture. The move was derided as a throwback and a solution to the wrong problem, though some saw it as a tool to re-kindle group cohesion at the troubled company.

Not actually Ms. Mayer's baby. This is just some baby from Flickr. Which admittedly Yahoo owns. Hmm.

One potentially awkward aspect of the telecommuting ban: Mayer announced that she was taking the Yahoo job at the same time that she announced that she was pregnant. New parents often enjoy the flexibility that telecommuting allows; Mayer didn't work at home with her new baby, but instead paid to have an nursery built next to her office. This isn't an option for other Yahoo employees, though the company did extend paid maternity and paternity leave.

Planning her next kill
Credit: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Mayer hasn't been afraid to cull some of Yahoo's sprawling suite of services and products and other thingamajigs if they weren't contributing to the bottom line or to company goals. Among the victims: deals and SMS alerts, all of Yahoo's South Korean services, RSS alerts, and "Citizen Sports" and "Yahoo Browser Plus", whatever those were. Also, in a headline straight from 1999, Yahoo shut down the AltaVista site.

'No, don't worry, I'll let you live! FOR NOW.
Credit: REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

But if Mayer taketh services away, she also giveth, or at least addeth companies to the Yahoo corporate family. Companies with dumb names that Yahoo snapped up under her watch include Xobni (contact management), Admovate (mobile advertising), Loki Studios (mobile gaming), Astrid (mobile to-do list/personal assistant) and Summly (mobile news).

Web 3.0-y!
Credit: Flickr

One of the saddest legacies of Yahoo's mismanagement was the long decline of the much-beloved Flickr. The site finally got a long-needed revamp this past winter, which got rid of the enduring mid-'00s aesthetic and brought the storage offerings up to early-'10s standards. Still, the earlier missteps meant that many previously dedicated users were lost forever to Instagram and, for that matter, Facebook.

'Wait, we have to make money?'
Credit: REUTERS/Adrees Latif

In May 2013, Mayer announced the splashiest deal of her tenure, Yahoo's acquisition of hipster social blogging platform Tumblr. She promised not to screw up the site but some Tumblrers still scurried to other options. Tumblr founder David Karp once said that ads "turn our stomach," but after the acquisition they arrived soon enough.

A nonstop rocket ride to the moon!
Credit: Google Finance

So has it been worth it for Yahoo? Well, over the past year, the company has seen its revenues and profits go up in fits and starts quarter by quarter, and, as this chart shows, its stock has gone up too. The company returned to the list of BrandZ's 100 most valuable brands, if you take ranked lists of brands seriously.

Credit: REUTERS/Stephen Lam

And that stock spike definitely helped Mayer's personal bottom line. In her first year as CEO, she collected $454,862 in salary, a $1.1 million bonus, and $35 million in equity, which put her in the upper echelons of tech earners. Not bad for a year's work. Why not sign her card?