This changes everything for Yahoo!

Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) has been rudderless since May, when CEO Scott Thompson left in a cloud of resume-faking scandal. Interim helmer Ross Levinsohn became Yahoo!’s fourth CEO in a span of eight months, dating back to when Carol Bartz got the boot from a disappointed board.

Well, Levinsohn’s days in the captain’s chair are over. And this time, the new Chief Yahoo! might actually have a shot at turning this sinking boat around.

Say hello to Marissa Mayer, employee No. 20 when Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) was but a young search-engine pup and Yahoo!’s new CEO.

Mayer is the kind of Silicon Valley superstar whom other companies dream about putting in their executive suites but never get the chance. At Google, she was a leader and a visionary, credited with important moves and design decisions like the uncluttered search interface and the head-turning Gmail service.

This is not quite like luring Tim Cook out of Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) when he served as COO under Steve Jobs, but it’s close to snagging Cupertino’s design guru, Sir Jonathan Ive. This hire is as unexpected as it is promising. After all, Mayer would hardly take the CEO position at a dead-end company. It’s a vote of confidence in the online veteran’s assets, though I’d expect her to take the business in a dramatically new direction.

If I could tell you exactly what the new strategy will look like, I’d be pulling down a seven-figure sum in Silicon Valley. But I do expect the Yahoo! empire to grow simpler, tighter, and more elegant in the coming months. That’s how Mayer rolls, after all.

Watch as the company becomes more like the two takes on industrial sophistication espoused by Google and Apple, and less like the fatally sprawling AOL. Marissa Mayer understands that consumers respond to elegant tools and services, and in my mind that could make all the difference.

Yahoo! may have found its CEO for the next decade right here. For more Foolish insight on Yahoo!, check out this video.

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The Motley Fools purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Click here now to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

A version of this article, written by Anders Bylund, originally appeared on

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