Barely an hour after longtime Google executive Marissa Mayer was announced as the new CEO of Yahoo, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen praised the move while on-stage at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen.
Contrasting Mayer with Yahoo’s interim CEO Ross Levinsohn (who was seen as another leading contender), Andreessen said this is “a big statement on Yahoo’s part.” He was careful to praise Levinsohn, but Andreessen said Levinsohn would have been more of sales- or content-centric CEO, whereas Mayer will be a product-centric CEO — and having another product CEO is “great for the valley.” In fact, he noted that Yahoo’s press release says the appointment “signals a renewed focus on product innovation.”
Andreessen also said he’s “super-happy” for Mayer, because she’s ready to step into a CEO role at a major tech company.
But can she actually turn Yahoo around? Andressen declined to offer any suggestions for areas that the company should pursue, and he also cautioned that it’s hard to think of many Web companies that succeeded in turning themselves around.
“On the other hand, it’s hard to overestimate how screwed Apple was in 1997,” Andreessen said. “Tech companies can in fact be turned around. The problem is, there aren’t a lot of Steve Jobs characters running around.”