Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is asking her top executives to sign three- to five-year commitments to the company, according to a report from Re/code’s Kara Swisher.
Mayer asked top executives in meetings between August and September to make a promise to stay at the company for multiple years, according to the report.
As part of Mayer’s attempted turnaround of the company, Re/code reports that Yahoo has hired elite management consultancy McKinsey & Co. to help decide how to structure the business once its spinoff of its shares in Alibaba Group is complete.
Business Insider has contacted Yahoo for comment on this story and will update when it responds.
In last month’s Q3 earnings statement, Mayer said: “As we move into 2016, we will work to narrow our strategy, focusing on fewer products with higher quality to achieve improved growth and profitability” — hinting, as Re/code suggests, that some business units might soon be closed.
Yahoo is desperately trying to plug its executive exodus. The long line of recent departures includes marketing boss Kathy Savitt, M&A and HR chief Jackie Reses, EMEA boss Dawn Airey, marketing partnerships head Lisa Licht, chief information security officer Alex Stamos, and senior vice president of advertising and data platforms Scott Burke.
When Mayer talked to Wall Street analysts on the company’s earnings call after reporting another disappointing quarter, she told them that such departures were part of a “design” and were “the result of careful planning to achieve the necessary skills, passion, and the ability to execute growth in our business.”
But people close to the company told Business Insider they were surprised and upset by Mayer’s statement. One person familiar with the departures said Mayer’s statement was “disgraceful” and that it bordered on a “lie.”
One of Yahoo’s big bets for next year will be its big plan to take on Google in search. “Project Index” is its soon-to-be-launched mobile search/personal assistant product, similar to a Apple Siri or Google Now. Yahoo wants Project Index to make better sense of all the content users already have access to — like their emails — and use context to provide better-quality search results.
Back in April. Mayer gave the example of searching for “JFK” en route to the airport, and a mobile search product producing her airline boarding past and her aeroplane’s gate number, rather than simply producing the “John F. Kennedy” Wikipedia page.
That’s a different challenge to a search algorithm crawling “a trillion or more URLs and perfectly ordering millions of results,” instead the technology would need to pull in context, people’s personal information, and it would need to make search more action oriented.
Re/code’s sources said the Project Index unit “is certainly getting more resources” and is now being led by Yahoo search head Enrique Munoz Torres, who used to work at Google. However, the launch has been delayed from this year to some time next year, according to Re/code.
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