Here's what venture capitalist Marc Andreessen says about Yahoo's (YHOO) naming Google (GOOG) VP Marissa Mayer as its new CEO: "I'm super happy for Marissa," he told Fortune managing editor Andy Serwer at Fortune Brainstorm Tech this afternoon in Aspen, Colorado.
If Yahoo had wanted a "sales-centric CEO," he noted, the board would have chosen insider Ross Levinsohn, who has been interim CEO since the board pushed out Scott Thompson earlier this year. Apparently, most Yahoo employees were betting that Levinsohn would secure the top job.
Will Levinsohn stay at Yahoo? The board hopes he does, especially since Yahoo's recent reorganizations have placed many of Levinsohn's followers in senior positions. Retaining Levinsohn will likely require masterful diplomacy by Mayer, who is the youngest woman ever to make Fortune's Most Powerful Women list. She ranked No. 38 on the list last year.
The other big question, of course, is whether Yahoo can be revived following unsuccessful runs by a series of CEOs including Thompson, Carol Bartz and co-founder Jerry Yang. "There have been very few web turnarounds," Andreessen noted, adding that one Silicon Valley turnaround proves it can be done. "Apple showed that tech companies can be turned around…spectacularly," Andreessen said. Though, he added, the highest standard for CEOs, Steve Jobs, is very, very hard to come by.
"The threshold for the release of the first product should be, 'What would Steve Jobs do?'"
-- Marc Andreessen, venture capitalist and Netscape co-founder, who often evokes Apple (AAPL)'s maestro CEO in his advice to entrepreneurs. Andreessen is quoted in the Fortune cover package, "Steve Jobs: CEO of the decade," hitting newsstands Friday. Fortune's retrospective of "all things Steve" includes timelines, online photo galleries, and testimonials from Jobs' friends and colleagues. MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Nov 5, 2009 5:45 PM ET
by Patricia Sellers
Ning CEO Gina Bianchini is getting lots of curious looks and occasional "Congratulations!" here at Fortune Brainstorm Tech. The news leaked this week that her start-up raised $15 million at a company valuation of...get this, $750 million.
That's a stunning number, and incidentally, she didn't ask for the new funding. On Tuesday night, before Bianchini and I both arrived here in Pasadena, California for Fortune's annual tech confab, we MOREPatricia Sellers - Jul 23, 2009 3:11 PM ET
Here's the new cover of Fortune.
Yes, former eBay (EBAY) CEO Meg Whitman is vying for her next big gig--governor of California--Ronald Reagan-style. She's got a Western look and a simple message: creating jobs, cutting government spending, and improving education. "The three-bucket theory," Whitman calls it, contending that corporate employees and voters as well need clear, memorable messaging from leaders of any kind.
The horse on the cover, Brandy, isn't Whitman's, but MOREPatricia Sellers - Mar 18, 2009 3:15 PM ET
I've gotten to know Gina Bianchini. She's the CEO of Ning, the Silicon Valley startup that supplies the infrastructure to help you build your own social networking Web site. Think Home Depot for the social-network set. The other day, she "introduced" me via e-mail to her chairman and financial backer, Marc Andreessen. I had to laugh and tell both of them that Marc and I actually had met before, though MOREPatricia Sellers - Aug 29, 2008 12:01 PM ET
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