Surprise: Ex-Google Exec Mayer Takes Reins As Yahoo CEO

Mayer's move to head one of IT's best-known companies happened as quickly as most of the rest of her career. Mayer, who joined Google in 1997 as its 20th employee and eventually rose to be responsible for Google Maps, Google Earth, Zagat, Street View and local search, resigned from the company on Friday via a phone call, according to the New York Times.

Mayer, who is 37 years old according to several sources, is the fourth CEO of ailing Yahoo in the past year.

[Related: Yahoo Fires CEO Bartz, Launches Review Of Company's Strategic Direction ]

Carol Bartz last September was fired as Yahoo's CEO after only two years at the job after the company's board of directors concluded it needed a change in management to turn the company around. Bartz was replaced on an interim basis by CFO Tim Morse.

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PayPal President Scott Thompson in January took over as Yahoo's CEO.

Five months later, Thompson, who was found to have falsified his academic record, was replaced by Ross Levinsohn, its former head of global media. Levinsohn, according to the Washington Post, was viewed as a popular executive at Yahoo and widely considered to be the favorite for the company's CEO post.

Yahoo, one of the top Internet and cloud computing brands, has been struggling for several years as it lost ground in the search and content business. The company's share prices, which peaked in January of 2006 at $43.42, on Monday closed at $15.65, down 0.6 percent for the day.

However, investors were cheered by the news of Mayer's appointment as Yahoo's CEO, and pulled share prices up over 2 percent in after-hours trading.

David Filo, co-founder of Yahoo, said in a prepared statement, "Marissa is a well-known, visionary leader in user experience and product design and one of Silicon Valley's most exciting strategists in technology development. I look forward to working with her to enhance Yahoo's product offerings for our over 700 million unique monthly visitors."