Mayer to Yahoo employees: 'Keep moving'

In first memo, new CEO asks employees to keep working while she devises strategy

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's new CEO, reached out to company employees for the first time and asked them to stay focused while she devises a strategy to get Yahoo back on track.

"The company has been through a lot of change in the past few months, leaving many open questions around strategy and how to move forward," Mayer said in a memo that was leaked to AllThingsD. "I am sensitive to this. While I have some ideas, I need to develop a more informed perspective before making strategy or direction changes. In the meantime, please do not stop. You are doing important work. Please don't stop."

Mayer, 37, took over the role of CEO at Yahoo just this past Tuesday.

Formerly a top-line executive at Google, Mayer is Yahoo's third CEO in less than a year. She's leading a company that has been rocked by financial problems, scandal and slipping mindshare.

Mayer has a tough job ahead of her, and industry analysts have said one of the first things she needs to do is calm employees and bolster their morale .

That appears to be what Mayer is trying to do.

"Yahoo is an Internet icon -- in terms of brand, reach, user following, in its products and service," she wrote to employees. "There is an enormous amount of opportunity in front of us... Companies are all about people, and the companies with the best talent win. Joining was an easy decision, because the strength of Yahoo's talent and the whole team here is apparent."

Mayer emphasized that workers at Yahoo must continue to push ahead. "Yes, keep moving," she wrote.

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said Mayer's statement was the best move she could have made in her first week.

"It's as good as it could be," Gottheil said. "It's going to take a while to formulate, communicate and implement a new strategy. They've got an ongoing business. It's smart to tell employees, 'Keep it going while we strategize.' "

Gottheil also noted that Mayer was wise to keep the memo positive without acting as if she already has all the answers to turning the company around.

"Don't ever act like you know what you don't or couldn't know," he said. "Make it clear that you are learning and you are open to inputs ... [Her memo] may seem generic, but it's the best anyone could do."

Mayer, who announced this week that she's pregnant, was Google's 20th hire and the company's first female engineer. Her 13 years at Google account for nearly her entire career. When she left the company, she had risen to become a top executive who led the company's critical Location and Local Services group.

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Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

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