Marissa Mayer

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Marissa MayerQuick facts

Refusal to address concerns of Walmart associates

Members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart)  and their allies have repeatedly reached out to Marissa Mayer for her to listen to their concerns. Ms. Mayer has repeatedly ignored these requests (see here for a detailed list).

Wealth

Pay

Mayer was named Yahoo!’s CEO in July 2012. According to the New York Times, Yahoo! has agreed to pay Mayer a minimum of $117 million over the next five years – if she manages to stay with the company that long. In 2012 alone, her compensation from Yahoo! was valued at $36.6 million, more than 2,000 times the average annual earnings of a Walmart associate. Her first-year compensation for serving as a Walmart director was valued at $219,994. In 2008, Mayer was already reportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Real estate

Mayer owns a penthouse apartment atop the Four Seasons hotel in downtown San Francisco and a Craftsman home in Palo Alto. The apartment is on the 38th floor and is worth approximately $5 million. The Palo Alto home had an assessed value of $5.1 million in 2011.[1]

Investments

Mayer is known to be an angel investor. Her investments have included technology-oriented companies involved in health care, eCommerce, mobile payments, mobile gaming, and car-sharing. Among the firms Mayer has backed are:

According to Crunchbase and AngelList, Mayer has also invested in Luvocracy, Kamcord, Getaround, uBeam, Airtime, Lever and Periscope.

 Other displays of wealth

  • Mayer’s December 2009 wedding to Zack Bogue included a private show by the band The Killers, a fireworks display, dinner and cake by celebrity chefs, and designer clothes for the bride, groom, and wedding party. The event was photographed by Robert Evans, who photographed the weddings of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston and Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
  • Mayer, who is extremely interested in fashion, is said to have paid $60,000 at a charity auction to have lunch with designer Oscar de la Renta. De la Renta told Vogue in 2009 that Mayer was one of his biggest customers.
  • In 2006, Mayer had 400 pieces of Dale Chihuly art glass installed in her San Francisco penthouse. Rush hour traffic on a major artery in downtown San Francisco was blocked while the glass was delivered in a tractor trailer.

Educational and professional background

Education

  • Wausau West High School, 1993
  • Bachelor’s degree, Symbolic Systems, Stanford University, 1997
  • Master of Science, Computer Science, Stanford University, 1999

Mayer’s academic specialty at Stanford was artificial intelligence. During her time at Google, she occasionally taught introductory computer science classes at Stanford.

Professional life

Yahoo! (July 2012 – present)

In what Forbes described as a “surprise move,” Yahoo! named Mayer as its new CEO—its seventh in the past five years—in July 2012. Yahoo, the once-mighty, once-pioneering Internet firm that in recent years has stumbled, is looking to Mayer to identify and implement a clear focus and strategy for the company.

Mayer’s decision to take the CEO position followed speculation that she had been sidelined at Google following a corporate reorganization and had no apparent path to the highest executive jobs there. Industry observers believe she did not want to stay at a company where she could not advance to the top.

Google, Inc. (1999 – 2012)

Mayer joined Google in 1999 as the company’s 20th employee and its first female engineer.  A self-described geek, she was the voice of the company on many product launches and was considered one of Google’s most well-known public figures.

Mayer held various titles at Google—including Vice President, Search Products and User Experience and Vice President, Consumer Products— but her work was fundamentally been about overseeing Google user experience and the development and release of new Google features and products. In its 2008 profile of Mayer, Vogue reported: “Google for the masses, the one you and I know and rely on, is Mayer’s fiefdom.” She led the launch of many Google products, including Gmail and Google News. In 2009, the New York Times described Mayer as “the gatekeeper of Google’s home page,” charged with overseeing “the look, feel, and functionality of the Internet’s most heavily trafficked search engine.”

In October 2010, Mayer was appointed Vice President, Maps, Local, and Location Services, a new position leading Google’s geographic and local services (e.g., Google Maps and local search). As the New York Times reported, “[Mayer’s] new day job is also the clearest indication yet that Google plans to take the local business market very seriously… ‘They basically took one of our strongest generals and put her on the front lines of another important front,’ said [a] person briefed on Google’s decision.”

Mayer initiated and facilitated Google’s September 2011 acquisition of restaurant ratings guide Zagat.

Work prior to Google

Mayer previously worked at Ubilab in Zurich, Switzerland, and at SRI International in Menlo Park, CA.

Corporate boards

Mayer joined the Walmart Board of Directors in June 2012, and became a director at Yahoo! when she joined that company as CEO. She joined the Jawbone Board of Directors in April 2013.

Patents

Mayer is listed as a co-inventor on 11 patents, including ones related to the design of the Google interface and Google News.[2]

Political contributions and activity

FWD.us controversy

In May 2013, Mayer came under heavy criticism from progressives and environmentalists when she was identified as a major contributor to FWD.us, a political advocacy group set up by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (see also here). The controversy concerned funding that FWD.us provided for a “seven figure” advertising campaign featuring Republican Senators attacking President Obama and extolling the Senators’ support for the Ketystone XL oil pipeline and opening up the Arctive National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. FWD.us had bankrolled these ads as a way of supporting Republican senators who backed the tech industry’s demand for loosening restrictions on guest worker visas for foreign tech workers.

Federal

Mayer is a bundler for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. In October 2010, she and her husband hosted a $30,000-a-head Democratic fundraiser, attended by Obama, at their Palo Alto home. Mayer had raised $386,000 for President Obama campaign as of September 2012, according to the New York Times.

Mayer, who is registered to vote at her Palo Alto address,[3] gave her first political donation in September 2007—$2,300 to Barack Obama. She has given a total of $173,800 since then: $120,100 (69%) to the Democratic National Committee, $30,400 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (17%), $16,000 (9%) to Google’s PAC, and $7,300 (4%) to Barack Obama.[4]

Mayer and Bogue attended the White House state dinner for Germany in July 2011.

California

In June 2013, Mayer held a fundraiser for the Yahoo! political action committee (Y!PAC) at her home. Industry watchers suggested that Mayer intended to ramp up the company’s political operation. In 2013, Yahoo! has lobbied on a range of issues including online privacy, ecommerce and online advertising, and immigration.[5]

Marissa Mayer joined with other Silicon Valley business leaders in 2013 to fill the coffers of congressional candidate Rho Khanna, the former Obama Administration deputy assistant secretary of commerce who is running in the Democratic Party primary against longtime congressman Mike Honda (D-San Jose). Honda is beloved by traditional Democratic constituencies, but tech industry leaders view Khanna as a more committed champion of their legislative agenda.

In 2010 and 2011, Mayer gave a total of $15,000 to California Lt. Gov. (and former San Francisco mayor) Gavin Newsom.[6]

In October 2011, she appeared in an endorsement video for San Francisco mayor Ed Lee, along with MC Hammer, San Francisco Giants pitcher Brian Wilson, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, musician will.i.am, retired NFL player Ronnie Lott, former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown, San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York, and Hunter Walk of YouTube.

Community connections

Non-profit boards

Other

  • #14 on FORTUNE’s 2012 50 Most Powerful Women in Business list; she was the youngest woman ever to be named to the Most Powerful Women list when she first appeared as #50 in 2008, at age 33.

Updated July 23, 2013


[1] Santa Clara County Assessment Records
[2] U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. Patent Collection Database
[3] Santa Clara County Voter Registration Lookup
[4] Data from OpenSecrets.org
[5] Data from OpenSecrets.org
[6] Data from Followthemoney.org

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