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Yahoo announced last night that Marissa Mayer, the company's president and CEO for nearly five years, will step down from Yahoo's board after Yahoo's planned merger with Verizon is completed. Yahoo co-founder David Filo will also resign from the board of directors.
Once the merger is completed and following the sale of its core businesses, what remains of the company will change its name to Altaba, according to SEC filings. That is, if the deal goes through. Verizon could terminate or renegotiate its $4.8 billion purchase of Yahoo over recent revelations that more than one billion Yahoo user accounts had been hacked.
Marissa Mayer's Yahoo Legacy
Marissa Mayer has been the face of Yahoo since she joined as CEO in 2012, charged with revitalizing the aging tech company. The position made her one of the most powerful and prominent women in the tech industry. During her tenure at Yahoo, the company gobbled up several promising tech companies, including Tumblr, and acquired a major stake in the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba.
Mayer has also significantly impacted the culture at Yahoo. She's been criticized for ending Yahoo's generous work-from-home policy and imposing a harsh employee review system, but she's also been praised for expanding the company's maternity leave. Mayer, a working mother herself, famously gave birth just months after taking the CEO position, building a nursery next to her office suite.
From Yahoo to Altaba
It was Yahoo's stake in Alibaba, acquired under Mayer, that eventually lead the company to spin off its most famous assets. Mayer had originally planned to sell off the company's Alibaba stake and refocus on Yahoo's core businesses, but could not get IRS approval of the plan to unload Yahoo's $32 billion in Alibaba stock -- at least not without paying taxes on the sale.
In response, the plan was reversed. Yahoo would hang on to the Alibaba stake while getting rid of its main businesses. Those are the assets now being sold to Verizon.
It is the remnants of Yahoo, mainly the Alibaba shares and Yahoo Japan, that will become Altaba. The discordant name, according to the Wall Street Journal, is a combination of "alternate" and "Alibaba."
Mayer won't be gone from Yahoo altogether, however. She is expected to remain on with Verizon once the merger is completed, the Journal reports.