Marissa Mayer is certainly in the cross-hairs of just about everyone. NYT is out with a piece tonight with some inside accounts from current and former Yahoo employees. Not surprisingly, Yahoo sounds like a dreadfully depressing place to work right now.
Marissa Mayer, the glamorous, geeky Google executive hired to turn around Yahoo in 2012, used to inspire hope in Yahoo's work force just by visiting the cafeteria for ice cream and mingling. Now, morale has sunk so low that some employees refer to Ms. Mayer, Yahoo’s chief executive, as “Evita” — an allusion to Eva Peron, the former first lady of Argentina whose outsize ego and climb to power and wealth were chronicled in the musical of that name.
Ms. Mayer is about to make herself even less popular with Yahoo’s nearly 11,000 employees. Faced with the failure of her efforts to reignite growth at the 22-year-old Silicon Valley company, she is now turning to the opposite strategy: cutting. As some investors press Yahoo to fire her, Ms. Mayer is crafting a last-ditch plan to streamline the company — including significant layoffs — that is expected to be announced before month’s end. While many Yahoo workers are keeping their heads down, just doing their jobs, others have lost faith in Ms. Mayer’s leadership, according to conversations with more than 15 current and former employees from all levels of the company, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because of continuing ties to Yahoo and its strict policy against leaks.
More than a third of the company’s work force has left in the last year, say people familiar with the data. Worried about the brain drain, Ms. Mayer has been approving hefty retention packages — in some cases, millions of dollars — to persuade people to reject job offers from other companies. But those bonuses have had the side effect of creating resentment among other Yahoo employees who have stayed loyal and not sought jobs elsewhere. Only 34 percent of employees believe that Yahoo’s prospects are improving, according to surveys conducted by Glassdoor, a firm that collects data on jobs and employers. That compares with 61 percent who are optimistic at Twitter, another troubled tech company, and 77 percent who see a bright future at Google, Ms. Mayer’s former employer.
One Yahoo employee who was interviewed said she was praying to be laid off so she could collect a severance payment and move on with her life. Others said they were actively looking for their next jobs — a task made more difficult because of the taint of failure that potential employers sometimes associate with anyone at the struggling company.
“Brands are important out here for employers,” said Nick Parham, a career coach in San Francisco who has had several Yahoo clients. “They are going to look harder at people from Facebook and Salesforce, companies that have winning strategies.”
Employees’ faith in Ms. Mayer began crumbling in earnest in August 2014, when Yahoo embarked on a series of stealth layoffs, current and former insiders said. For months, managers called in a handful of employees each week and fired them. No one knew who would be next, and the constant fear paralyzed the company, according to people who watched the process.
Last March, Ms. Mayer told the staff at an all-hands meeting that the bloodletting was finally over. Shortly thereafter, she changed her mind and demanded more cuts. All told, about 1,100 people lost their jobs in the layoffs.