Marissa Mayer as CEO of Yahoo may be a test of a new style of executive leadership, the optimizing CEO.
She is not the first computer scientist to lead a major company, but she is the first computer scientist (MSCS or higher) hired in as CEO to a Fortune 500 company. Many computer scientists view everything as an optimization problem. People, work, politics, life, everything is a search (often of a dynamic space) to find a maximum near the global maximum.
Marissa Mayer is an important test of a new style of CEO. She is not a Neutron Jack or Carly Fiorina, the strong military general style of bold decisions, loyalty-first, follow me, right or wrong. She is not going to be a charismatic cheerleading, press-focused CEO, the type that views their job solely as managing the message and marketing and selling the company and themselves. She is not going to be the mad visionary of Steve Jobs, yelling at everyone while single-handedly designing breakthrough products. She is a computer scientist and appears to be leading like one. I suspect she views the company, people at the company, the products, even her own role, all as an optimization process, a search to find the most productive and most useful outcomes.
The most common degree of CEOs hired into Fortune 500 companies is an MBA. Marissa appears to be the first computer scientist. This may be a test of a new style of leadership. Will Marissa Mayer be the start of companies hiring optimizing CEOs?