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As Mayer takes reins at Yahoo, what's her first order of business?

Marissa Mayer started her new job Tuesday, leading her former rival, Yahoo. Mayer will be Yahoo's fifth CEO in the past five years.

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In this Monday, Dec. 7, 2009, file photo, Marissa Mayer, VP of Search Products and User Experience for Google, speaks in Mountain View, Calif. Yahoo announced Monday, July 16, 2012, it is hiring Mayer to be its next CEO, the fifth in five years as the company struggles to rebound from years of financial malaise and internal turmoil. Mayer, who starts at Yahoo Inc. on Tuesday, July 17, 2012, was one of Google’s earliest employees and was most recently responsible for its mapping, local and location services.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/File

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As a top executive at Google for the past 13 years, Marissa Mayer played an instrumental role in developing many of the services that have tormented Yahoo as its appeal waned among Web surfers, advertisers and investors.

Now, Yahoo is turning to its longtime nemesis to fix everything that has gone wrong while Google Inc. has been cementing its position as the Internet's most powerful company.

Mayer, 37, will tackle the imposing challenge Tuesday when she takes over as Yahoo's fifth CEO in the past five years.

The surprise hiring announced late Monday indicates Yahoo still believes it can be an Internet innovator instead of merely an online way station where people pass through to read a news story or watch a video clip before moving on to more compelling Internet destinations.

"I just saw a huge opportunity to have a global impact on users and really help the company in terms of managing its portfolio, attracting great talent and really inspiring and delighting people," Mayer said during a Monday interview with The Associated Press.

Like her predecessors, Mayer will have to come up with an effective strategy to compete with the juggernaut that Google has become and the increasingly influential force that Facebook Inc. is turning into as more people immerse themselves in its social network.

Both Google, the Internet's search leader, and Facebook have been beating Yahoo Inc. in the battle for Web surfers' attention and advertisers' marketing budgets. As Yahoo has lagged in that pivotal race, so has its financial performance and stock price. The stock has been slumping since Yahoo Inc. balked at a chance to sell itself to Microsoft Corp. for $47.5 billion, or $33 per share, in May 2008.

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