Silicon Valley likes leaders with star power, and they don’t come any bigger than Marissa Mayer, the newly anointed head of Yahoo. Her resume is surely the template for a post-modern, information-age celebrity CEO — Stanford artificial intelligence degree, employee No. 20 at Google, developer of the iconic white search page, user experience guru, stunning blond designer-clothes-wearing mother-to-be. Not only is the 37-year-old computer engineer the youngest by far of the 20 women who run Fortune 500 firms, but she’s also the only one to ever become CEO while pregnant.
While the baby is getting much of the media attention, investors could care less. They are focused on the three reasons why Mayer is a smart pick to reinvent one of the Internet’s iconic brands. 1. She’s a user experience fanatic. 2. She’s a technologist who understands media, not a media person trying to get technology. 3. She’s a woman, and technology is feminizing. For more on what all this means, and how it will reshape Silicon Valley, check out my Curious Capitalist column in this week’s TIME magazine.