Yahoo CEO criticized for lavish Christmas Party

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Tell these people it’s dumb to throw a million-dollar party when your company sucks.

The Yahoo! chief executive presided over a company Great Gatsby theme party this month on San Francisco’s Pier 48, the reported $US7 million ($A9.83 million) cost of which struck investors in the internet as being tone-deaf to excess. Mayer rented a warehouse on the San Francisco waterfront and — for a reported $7 million price tag — decked it out for a lavish Great Gatsby-style party complete with flappers, chandeliers and a Rolls Royce. After being led through a series of velvet ropes, guests sat on a couch beside her for their commemorative photo before being dispatched to the party outside, where they indulged in Champagne poured by swinging aerialists. The details emerged a day after Eric Jackson, a managing director at SpringOwl Asset Management, dropped a 99-page slide deck calling for Mayer’s ousting, in which he blasted her for allegedly blowing money on everything from lavish parties to failed acquisitions.

Employees at the company’s Sunnyvale headquarters also receive free food (three meals a day, which some reports have estimated as costing up to $150 million a year), and company transport to and from home. The Christmas party seems to mirror Yahoo’s spending habits since the former Google executive took over the company in 2012 — lots spent for little return.

That particular perk, according to Jackson, has already cost a reported $US450 million ($632.13 million) thus far into Mayer’s tenure. “That’s half an Instagram right there,” Jackson said, referring to the reported $US1 billion ($1.4 billion) acquisition Yahoo! might have made instead of the $US1.1 billion ($1.55 billion) it reportedly spent on what he claims is a now-worthless Tumblr. According to a shareholder presentation obtained by Business Insider, Yahoo has spent $3 billion on mergers and acquisitions to which they have added no value to over the last three years. Though the presentation has been criticized inside Yahoo as being inaccurate, it doesn’t change the fact that the company’s stock price has plummeted nearly 20 points in just over a year.

Plus, the criticism from Jackson about the $US108 million ($151.71 million) a year spent on food for Yahoo! employees is undeserved because providing refreshments is simply what’s generally expected in Silicon Valley, the Mayer defenders added. Jackson called his source on the Gatsby party cost “highly credible”, and told The Post he was defending his $US7 million figure until proven wrong with actual receipts. As for the food estimate, he invited challengers to do the math and price out “the freshest, sustainable, locally sourced options” offered by Yahoo! vendor Bon Appétit. “She’s acting as if she’s the CEO of a $US30 billion [$42.14 billion] company,” Jackson said. “But once you take away its stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo! Japan, core Yahoo! is really a $US3 billion [$4.21 billion] company.” Companies of that size rarely sponsor tony galas or spend up to $US2 million ($2.81 million) to rent a jet to fly to the Davos World Economic Forum — nor do they pay their CEO the $US365 million ($512.73 million) Mayer’s on track to receive for five years at Yahoo! he said.

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