Today’s Most Creative Person: Marissa Mayer, Who Got People Talking About Yahoo Again

One year at the helm, Marissa Mayer has instilled excitement in the company with high-profile acquisitions.

Today’s Most Creative Person: Marissa Mayer, Who Got People Talking About Yahoo Again

People used to refer to Yahoo as a troubled search giant, but today everyone’s talking about its comeback story. One year after Marissa Mayer stepped in as CEO of the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company, the stock price is up 75%, signaling renewed optimism about the company.


Before Mayer took the helm, Yahoo had cycled through six CEOs in six years. There’s no doubt the former Google exec came in with an uphill battle ahead of her, but the performance of investments in two Asian tech companies, Alibaba and Yahoo Japan, have helped bolster the stock price while giving her the cash for 17 acquisitions, instilling a sense of excitement into the sleepy search company.

When Yahoo sold half its investment in Alibaba last year, the company made $7.6 billion; the remaining stake–24% of the company–could reap another $20 billion, according to an analyst.

Mayer’s acquisitions have highlighted what the company has its eye on. Tumblr, with its young and hip demographic, is her most high-profile acquisition to date and Yahoo’s largest in a decade at $1.1 billion. When the company bought Summly for $30 million from a 17-year-old developer, it conveyed increased attention to the mobile space.

Yet a large part of this turnaround has to do with a shift in company culture. To motivate languishing employees, out are the WFH (work-from-home) statuses and in are free lunches. Though the former has riled up workers, a company is only the sum of its employees. Before convincing shareholders, Mayer had to inspire her workforce.

Every year, Fast Company names its 100 Most Creative People, highlighting the global leaders in tech, design, media, music, movies, marketing, television, sports, and more. Mayer and other thought-leaders will be considered for 2014’s list.

[Image: Flickr user startupamerica]

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.