Blog Post

Time for Mayer to go?

I recently chimed in with a bunch of Yahoo watchers about the avalanche of long-expected executive defections (see Marissa Mayer has failed profoundly). As I said,

The accelerating flight of executive talent makes clear that Marissa Mayer is failing at Yahoo. It’s no longer a turnaround, it’s a rout.

The newest wrinkle? She’s apparently brought in McKinsey to help her figure out what to do with the company she’s been trying to ‘turnaround’ for three years. She also demanding that executives pledge to stay for three to five years, or take a walk, which led to Mayer displaying her mean side. As Kara Swisher reports,

That move seems to have backfired a bit, resulting in several major departures recently, including European boss Dawn Airey, marketing and media head Kathy Savitt, development chief Jackie Reses and many others to other jobs. Curiously, Mayer tossed them all under the bus in Yahoo’s recent quarterly call, slyly suggesting to analysts all the departures had been planned and that her current team was Yahoo’s bestest ever.

Recall that Jackie Reses was a major force behind the No Remote Work policy back in 2013 (see The polarization around remote work comes as no surprise, and Yahoo’s Mayer thinks that remote workers are… too remote), so maybe no loss in that regard. Of course, she may have just been doing Mayer’s bidding.

So, McKinsey’s going to start drawing the dotted lines on the Yahoo side of beef, and selling off (or shutting down) various bits. Perhaps they should start by cutting off the head first?

I expect Mayer won’t get more than a few quarters more before the board comes after her, unless she pulls a rabbit out of her hat. Maybe Project Index, Yahoo’s answer to Siri, Google Now, and Microsoft Cortana. I’d start shorting the company, if I were a gambling man.