For over a decade, Marissa Mayer has been one of the most respected executives in Silicon Valley. But her appointment as the new CEO of Internet giant Yahoo! propelled her to a whole new level of fame. Mayer, 37, is now one of the most prominent chief executives in the world. It was an inspired choice for Yahoo!, which desperately needed an injection of fresh energy after a series of failed CEOs and eroding company morale. Earlier this year, Mayer, whose net worth is estimated to be $300 million, sparked a minor kerfuffle when she eliminated Yahoo!’s work-from-home policy.
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A Wausau, Wisconsin native, Mayer joined Google in 1999 as the company’s 20th employee after earning a B.S. in Symbolic Systems and an M.S. in Computer Science at Stanford University, where she specialized in artificial intelligence. At Google, she quickly took the helm of the company’s user interface team, where she was instrumental in developing the company’s iconic, minimalist search box layout. Mayer would eventually become responsible for many of Google’s most successful consumer-facing products, including Gmail, Google News, and Google Maps.