CEO Mayer talks logos and her happiness at Yahoo

Exec spreads credit for early success, talks of surge in interest in working at the Internet company

In wide-ranging discussion Wednesday, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer talked about the company's not-so-popular new logo, the status of her turnaround efforts and whether she's happier at Yahoo than she was at Google.

Mayer, at Yahoo's helm for a little more than a year, fielded questions from TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington during a fireside chat at the Disrupt conference in San Francisco late Wednesday.

When Arrington pointed out that Yahoo's stock price has nearly doubled since she came on board, Mayer said her team and others deserve much of the credit.

"There are certainly some very smart investments that I owe my predecessors for," she said. "It's a chain reaction of things ... hiring the right people, having the right products, increasing traffic and revenue. You have to get the right people there before you can do the right products."

Finding interest from the right people hasn't been a problem, she said, noting the many resumes Yahoo has been culling through.

According to Mayer, the company gets 12,000 resumes a week, up by a factor of five or six from earlier years. Attrition, she added, is down markedly.

While Yahoo has been making gains, its CEO said a full turnaround could take a few years. She's confident, however, that they're headed in the right direction.

"I've been very, very happy with the team I joined and we're hiring more people all the time," including former Yahoo employees, she noted.

In the first quarter of this year, 14% of Yahoo's hires were former employees of the company. In the second quarter it was 10%.

"I love hard work," she said. "I love Google. If you had told me that I'd be as happy anywhere else, I wouldn't have believed it. And I am as happy or happier at Yahoo than I was there. It's challenging but I'm inspired."

Mayer also defended the recent changes made to the company's well-known logo. The move has had its share of detractors.

"I like the way the logo turned out, and I like the way we did it," Mayer said. "We're a big established company, and we need to be really entrepreneurial. We need to be really scrappy. We did it from a very authentic place."

She also pointed out that the company's logo hadn't changed in 18 years. "Eight-seven percent of our employees wanted something different. Our customers said the logo seemed clunky. Most logos get changed a little bit all the time. From now on we're just going to do small iterations over time," she said.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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