Photo: All Things D
Yahoo is in the middle of a desperate turnaround.Usage of Yahoo products has stalled, and the company is about to get crushed by the mobile computing revolution unless it makes something wonderful.
Very few people think it can do something wonderful.
To address these issues, Yahoo’s board, led by hedge funder Dan Loeb, has been hiring top talent from other companies in Silicon Valley.
First it hired ex-Googler Marissa Mayer.
Then it handed another Google executive, Henrique de Castro, a $60 million compensation package so that he would join Yahoo as COO.
That’s a huge amount of money. We hear it’s more than de Castro’s old boss gets paid at Google.
But Yahoo’s board thought de Castro was the right man for the job, and if he is, he’s worth the money.
But de Castro just took on a second job. He joined the board of Target.
This was a poor decision.
On the one hand, it’s good for Yahoo to have a solid relationship with Target, an advertiser. And, sitting on a board seat isn’t usually a lot of work. In good times, the job requires maybe a half dozen meetings a year.
But like Yahoo, Target is currently facing a huge consumer shift. Yahoo’s is dealing with consumer moving from desktop to mobile; Target is dealing with offline to online.
Being a public-company board member during a transition period is hard work.
Just ask Intuit CEO Brad Smith, who stepped down from Yahoo’s board late last year after only a year and a half in the seat. His reason? He spent hundreds of hours on Yahoo in 2012 instead of his fulltime job. The board met 61 times!
One CEO that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer models herself after is Steve Jobs – a product visionary with granular control over the company.
Well … when Jobs ran Apple, he forbade his executives from joining the boards of other companies.
He demanded focus on the job at hand.
Perhaps to do so, she needs to set an example by stepping down from Walmart’s board, where she was given a seat prior to joining Yahoo.
Mayer and Yahoo made a lot of news the past couple weeks because the company banned working from home, arguing that it needs focus from its employees.
Time for a example to be to be set at the top.
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