Hedge fund manager blasts Marissa Mayer for equipping employees with 22,000 iPhones

“Yahoo’s $7 million end-of-the-year bash at San Francisco’s Pier 48 was one for the books. Aerialists swung among chandeliers, pouring Champagne, while a burlesque troupe tantalized the Silicon Valley crowd,” Dana Schuster reports for The New York Post. “here was a white Rolls-Royce parked inside and cigarette girls peddling candy. In a roped-off corner, Marissa Mayer, the company’s president and CEO, perched like a queen — nine months pregnant and wearing a floor-length gown — on a white armchair while posing for photos with her loyal subjects.”

“Too bad her kingdom’s crumbling,” Schuster reports. “Since taking the reins of Yahoo in 2012, Mayer’s come under fire for failing to revive the struggling company. Executives are fleeing, stock is plummeting — down 32 percent year-to-date — and Mayer’s spending like Marie Antoinette.”

“She threw down $3 million to sponsor the May 2015 Met Gala and $2 million to sponsor the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last January. Hedge fund manager and Yahoo shareholder Eric Jackson submitted a 99-page presentation to the company’s board calling for Mayer’s ousting, lambasting the CEO for unnecessary expenditures like 22,000 iPhones and some $108 million per year in free food for employees,” Schuster reports. “And critics are grumbling about Mayer’s lavish spending on bold-face contributors like Katie Couric (whose contract recently got renewed for a reported $10 million per year) and companies like Tumblr, for which Mayer paid $1.1 billion in 2013. It’s currently valued at $0.”

Schuster reports, “Those who know Mayer, 40, say she doesn’t understand how to behave when a company’s flailing, since she’s never experienced failure.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This one comes across as a hit piece generated by the hedge funds and a couple of grudge-carrying former colleagues. BTW, photos from Yahoo’s party are here via The Daily Mail.

The iPhones are for employees to do their jobs as Yahoo’s world goes (went) mobile.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer (photo by Brigitte Lacombe)
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer (photo by Brigitte Lacombe)
Obviously, the knives are out for Mayer at the dawn of 2016.

Once again, Mayer’s been hamstrung with the STUPID deal her predecessor Carol Bartz inked with Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer (two very confused former CEOs) to use Bing as the search component of Yahoo.

Yahoo needed to develop and promote its own technology. If they had their own search, Yahoo would be in a position today to make a serious play to replace Google as the default search engine on the world’s most coveted platform and reap multiple billions of dollars from such a deal. Alas, they are not and, as a result, Mayer has been forced to tinker around the edges while trying to extricate Yahoo from the straightjacket into which her predecessor shackled the company.

The Bing deal has since been amended under Mayer and, reportedly, either party can now terminate the deal at any point in time as of October 1, 2016. Mayer should be given some more time to fully execute her plans in which a deal with Apple should — if she has any hope to be a long-term CEO — be the centerpiece, the engine that drives Yahoo back to major prominence.

All Yahoo should be focusing on now is displacing Google as Apple’s default Safari search engine on iOS devices.

Yahoo investors running out of patience with CEO Marissa Mayer – January 4, 2016
Yahoo board to weigh future of company, Marissa Mayer, source says – December 2, 2015
Yahoo or Microsoft can terminate search deal anytime on or after October 1st – April 21, 2015
Microsoft loses exclusivity in Yahoo search deal shake up – April 17, 2015
Yahoo gains further US search share; Google falls below 75% for first time – February 3, 2015
Microsoft, Yahoo vie to become Apple Safari’s default search option – November 26, 2014
Firefox dumps Google for default U.S. search, switches to Yahoo/Bing – November 20, 2014
Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer was right to ban working from home, right? – August 12, 2014
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer wants to save Google a billion dollars – April 18, 2014
Yahoo’s strategy: Rebuild search, take share, win iOS from Google – April 17, 2014

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]


    1. You know, that makes me wonder about the term ‘frivolous spending’ (and this coming from a Conservative), but to me, if a company wants to spend money on its employees and give them a reason to love their employers, and to (by chance) make them happier and more productive, then go for it.

      This may all prove pointless, but people need to have more to look forward to than just a check. No, they aren’t OWED more, but production is relative to reliability, which is proportional to happiness.

      Let’s see how it plays out.

  1. Too much backseat driving.

    Granted some spending is necessary to keep talent, but some could be tempered as well. All excuses.

    When you have someone yelling behind you, telling you how to do your job or drive a car, is precisely when things start to go wrong.

    Leave the woman alone. Let her to her job.

  2. Another pot calling the kettle black. That hedge fund manager wishes some of that spent money was going into his own pocket instead. Hedge fund managers neither spin nor weave but sit back and collect their fees whether the fund goes up or down.

  3. I’m impressed with Scrooge McDuck’s suggestion for start page.com. I threw a moderately obscure query at it for images (duck duck go’s major failing) and it was fine.

    My question is how can I make it the default search engine for Safari without making it my homepage?

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