Mayer exits Yahoo with a $55 million severance package following years of criticism from the tech elite — and now a sale of the company to Verizon
As Yahoo readies for its $4.83 billion sale to Verizon, CEO Marissa Mayer is finally speaking out about what she says is sexist coverage of her tenure as head of the one-time tech giant.
Mayer told the Financial Times: “I’ve tried to be gender blind and believe tech is a gender neutral zone but do think there has been gender-charged reporting.”
Despite one’s opinion about whether Mayer was a good choice to helm Yahoo — a smorgasbord tech company that steadily lost market share — the sad truth is that Mayer has a fair point.
Under Mayer, Yahoo trailed companies which perfected individual slices of online offerings as compared to Yahoo’s hodgepodge of services ranging from from internet searches to chat and video.
However in stories about her leadership, mostly male reporters often focus on observations that have nothing to do with business, such as her choice of fashion, her marital/parental status, or even worse they point out in some blatant way that Mayer is not a man.
Here’s a sample of some of the more egregious examples of reporting on Mayer in which sexist language and slant are evident.
“For the NewFronts event in June 2014, Mayer wore a designer dress and introduced a slate of buzzy new shows that she personally approved.”
“She doesn’t display much, if any, warmth (at least not to those who aren’t in her inner orbit) and often won’t meet people’s eyes… The rules are always different for women, but Mayer’s quirks go beyond coldness.”
In a video interview, New York University Stern School of Business professor Scott Galloway called Mayer “the most overpaid CEO in history.” He also said Mayer would have been “out of a job” within six months if she hadn’t told the company she was pregnant with twin daughters.
The New York Post produced an illustration with the caption: “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.”
Note the illustration: Mayer is dressed as Marie Antoinette
Mayer stands to take away $55 million in cash once the Verizon deal is complete. Despite what she wears or how she parents, nobody can argue that she’s not a savvy negotiator.