Editor's Note: This is the seventh article in a monthly series focusing on business and leadership lessons from prominent figures in history, sports, politics and corporate America.
At just 37, nearly seven months pregnant and less than a month on the job, the pressure is on. Regardless of her age and sex, shareholders of the $19 billion dollar internet company expect her to revive its struggling business model -- and soon.
Mayer comes into a job that didn't end so well for predecessors. From Carol Bartz to the most recent Yahoo! CEO failure, Scott Thompson -- who had to resign after a frustrated hedge fund investor uncovered lies on his resume -- the Yahoo! CEO job has most recently been associated with failure, failure of a spectacular and very public nature.While Mayer clearly made a major contribution to Google's (GOOG) expansion and success as one of the search giant's initial engineers, questions persist about whether she has the experience to run a public company. Yet for the technology sector, by nature always looking to the future -- and for a company like Yahoo! which needs a new outlook -- Mayer's selection makes sense for at least one obvious reason. "She brings the youth movement to the table," says Adam Connors, managing partner of Spire Search Partners in Hoboken, N.J. "Leadership these days is trending younger and she is crossing a couple of borders between women, youth and technology, which is signifying the future." "That's a powerful statement to take somebody that young and put her in that position at such a critical point in the company's future," says Steven Raz, co-founder and managing partner of Cornerstone Search Group in Parisppany, N.J. "