Vanity Fair Profiles Marissa Mayer: Both “Dictator” And “Cool Fairy Godmother”

VF concludes that Yahoo’s CEO and Google’s former “gatekeeper”–how she described herself in a Fast Company interview several years ago–is “Teflon.”

Vanity Fair Profiles Marissa Mayer: Both “Dictator” And “Cool Fairy Godmother”
[Image of Marissa Mayer and her husband, Zachary Bogue: Flickr user Robert Scoble]

Just months after a very flattering profile of Marissa Mayer appeared in Vogue magazine, she has been given the once-over by the publication’s Conde Nast stablemate, Vanity Fair. It’s a balanced long read, entitled, “Is Marissa Mayer Helping Yahoo–Or Hurting The Struggling Tech Giant?” and includes comments from many Silicon Valley insiders on Yahoo’s CEO. Here are just a handful of ways she’s described throughout.

  • Survivor
  • Genius
  • Cold
  • Makes people wait
  • Thoughtful
  • Gracious
  • Wicked smart
  • Driven

The profile recounts Mayer’s battle with Wall Street investor Daniel Loeb, revealing how she “outmaneuvered” him, and talks of how she has transformed the culture at Yahoo.

The mother-of-one, who grew up in Wisconsin, had “so many enemies” at Google, according to one insider. However, her interview for the top job at Yahoo was “one of the best interviews ever,” according to a former board member. A psychometric test done to determine whether she was a candidate was “off the charts” on her ability to lead and management aptitude. And there is no doubt she has transformed the culture, making seemingly unpopular moves, such as axing the firm’s work-from-home policy, which make a positive impact on employees morale, in addition to doing “smart deals.”

Revisit Fast Company‘s 2005 interview of Marissa Mayer by Linda Tischler here.

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S