Marissa Mayer Grabs Third Spot on Fortune Magazine ‘40 Under 40’

Being ranked right behind Google’s Larry Page and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is a position any 37-year-old new mom would envy. For Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, it’s just the latest bit of remarkable news in a truly remarkable year.

The former Google exec is number three on Fortune magazine’s just-released “40 Under 40” hit list. For the accompanying sidebar profile, reporter Patricia Sellers talked to dozens of friends, colleagues and acquaintances about Yahoo’s fourth chief executive in five years (and youngest leader of any Fortune 500 company):

“When Marissa became captain of the pompom squad, she wasn’t in with that clique of girls, but she won them over in three ways,” recalls Abigail Garvey Wilson, Mayer’s best friend from childhood. “First, sheer talent. Marissa could choreograph a great routine. Second, hard work. She scheduled practices lasting hours to make sure everyone was synchronized. And third, fairness. With Marissa in charge, the best dancers made the team.”

Even back in her teenage years, Mayer was mathematical, analytical, and, to use her term, “matrix-driven.” When she got accepted at every college she applied to – Harvard, Yale, Northwestern, Duke, and six others – she created a spreadsheet with student-teacher ratios, median SAT scores, and various measures of campus life to help her figure out where to go. She chose Stanford partly because, for a Wisconsin girl, she said, “it was unique.”

Mayer, who gave birth to a baby boy on September 30 and plans to return to the Yahoo offices shortly, has already implemented free cafeteria food and free Smartphones for all employees. Much more about this formidable exec in the very thorough Sellers piece.

[Photo courtesy: @marissamayer]

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.