Former Googler Marissa Mayer shocked the world last summer by taking the CEO spot at Yahoo, a brand marred by tumultuous CEO tenures and waning relevance.
Since then, Yahoo's stock has been on a tear and analysts are pinning their hopes for a Big Purple Turnaround squarely on Mayer.
Mayer has laid out her plans to usher in a new era at Yahoo, and she's generated more excitement about the company than any of the numerous other CEOs Yahoo has had in the past decade. That includes a buzz-worthy appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
But industry watchers are now starting to look for proof that Mayer can deliver on her promises.
To be fair, Mayer has only been on the job for two full quarters. In October, results for the third quarter beat estimates but were hardly fantastic. Mayer's next test comes via Monday's fourth-quarter earnings report, and it will be a look into the new Yahoo business strategy -- the results of which Mayer began laying out in an all-staff meeting in September.
Mayer wants Yahoo to focus on personalizing the Web for its users. She's also trying to shake up the company culture, urging Yahoo staffers to move more quickly and interact with the Web the way the company's users do. To that end, she eliminated company-issued BlackBerrys in favor of new Apple, Google and Microsoft phones.
Mayer has also discussed efforts to revamp search and display advertising, as well as focusing on attracting top talent to Yahoo. Her message is convincing, at least to investors: Shares closed Thursday at their highest level since September 18, 2008.
And so Marissa-love has proliferated, with Yahoos and techies alike wondering if Mayer will finally be the one to right the Yahoo ship after years of failings. Adding to the Mayer obsession is her personal life: She gave birth to a baby boy on September 30 and returned to work after a two-week maternity leave.
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