UPDATED 08:01 EDT / JULY 17 2012

Marissa Mayer “Passed Over” at Google: Ambition Trumps Loyalty

Yahoo! surprised everyone yesterday when they announced their new CEO – Marissa Mayer – a former Google executive.

Mayer was responsible for a lot of the design aspects, as in the look and feel of Google and its products throughout the years, and that’s what Yahoo is banking on when they hired the former Google exec.

“I am honored and delighted to lead Yahoo, one of the Internet’s premier destinations for more than 700 million users,” Mayer said in Yahoo’s news release announcing the appointment. “I look forward to working with the company’s dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world.”

There is no doubt that Mayer is qualified for the job but, it’s just a bit curious as to how Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo’s interim CEO when Scott Thompson resigned, got passed for the position – again.

People thought that Levinsohn would be the one chosen to lead Yahoo especially when he backed Third Point head Dan Loeb’s move in ousting Thompson which led to his resignation after it was found that he had faked his academic records.

But Levinsohn’s move in hiring ex-Google executive  Michael Barrett as Yahoo’s Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer may have caused his dilemma.  It seems hiring Google execs is the only way they see towards the revival the once glorious reign of Yahoo.

Mayer passed up for a promotion at Google?

If you think Yahoo is the only one who bypasses their employees, Google is just as bad.  Why do you think Mayer was quick accept the position?  Well, of course, being offered the top position in any company would give them fodder to abandon their current position, but Mayer’s future in Google seemed bleak and slowly progressed.

Mayer was promoted as Google’s vice president of location and local services in 2010 after years of heading the search business.  But Google named Jeff Huber as the senior vice president for local and commerce, putting him a step ahead of Mayer.  So when Yahoo offered the position last June, there was very little to think about.  Mayer resigned from Google yesterday – by telephone – and started as CEO of Yahoo today.

Even if you spend your whole life at one company, an offer for the top position at another can play to your ambition, sometimes trumping loyalty.  And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  You don’t always get to where you want by being loyal.

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