A Big 'If'If Yahoo can keep Levinsohn on board and engaged, a Mayer-Levinsohn combo could prove a compelling ticket. But that's a big "if."
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydq7YIRLKn0&w=560&h=315&wmode=window&h=315]Yahoo, which has been gun-shy about hiring a media executive as CEO since its horrific experience with former Hollywood king Terry Semel, has not fared any better in naming technologists as CEOs. After Semel resigned as CEO in 2007, Yahoo founder Jerry Yang returned to the post. (Cue: Investors groan.) Yang played a key role in the decision to turn down Microsoft's mega-billion buyout offer. In 2009, Yang was replaced by Carol Bartz, a well-respected technology CEO but one with no Internet or advertising experience. Bartz bombed. She, according to sources, was clueless in addressing Yahoo's large advertising clients and mollifying their concerns. She was dumped last fall. Yahoo again went for a technologist by hiring former PayPal CEO Scott Thompson in January. At least he had Internet experience. Trouble was, he didn't have the computer science degree he claimed on his resume. Mayer clearly has done well at Google. She began as a software engineer, had a stint as product manager for Google.com, was director of consumer Web services and later vice president of search products and user experience before taking on her most recent role. Yahoo is definitely aiming to make its site super sticky, so Mayer's experience will be useful. To what degree her past Google experience was interlaced with the company's sliver of media offerings -- that rely on driving traffic for advertisers -- isn't quite clear.