Ms Mayer's been in a number of profiles regarding Google in the last few years; unlike its secretive and nerdy founders, she is publication-friendly, interview-friendly, and clearly an executive with vision and an ability to execute that vision. One article I saw even compared her to Steve Jobs with regard to those qualities.
Of course, today she was named CEO of Yahoo!, a company that has been foundering without a rudder for the past decade as Google blew its doors off in every way possible.
I think this move is somewhat peculiar. I am sure Ms Mayer was promised an exorbitant pay package and a golden parachute that will ensure that she is set for life financially; but as GOOG employee #20 she almost surely already is. The real question is, what does she hope to accomplish?
Recently Tim Cook took the helm at AAPL; and shortly thereafter Ron Johnson, head of retail, jumped ship for Penney, while Bertie Serlet, head of engineering, departed to form his own tech startup. These fellows saw that they were never going to make any more vertical progress in the AAPL org chart; the only way up for them was out.
Can you imagine Johnson or Serlet departing to lead Microsoft, or Dell, or Google for that matter? That would be odd. Ms Mayer's move is odd. I personally think she would have been better at the job that Eric Schmidt was tapped to do (though perhaps she would not have been quite as adept at the corporate espionage Schmidt carried out during his two years on AAPL's board, the two years during which iPhone - and Android - were being developed under wraps, the latter just a few months behind the other, and of course no connection express or implied.)
Yahoo! is undergoing death rattles. If Ms Mayer thinks she can right its ship in the kind of competitive landscape it's facing, good for her; but I doubt it. If she thinks she can wipe Larry Page's eye, good for her too - but I doubt it.
And if Google thinks they've won by creating an environment where someone like Ms Mayer feels the only way up is out - good for them. But I doubt it.
I think this was a lose-lose all around.