Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Hopes She Keeps Her Job, Come Sale or Board Battle

Marissa Mayer Yahoo TV Production failure
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Marissa Mayer seems to have acknowledged her future at the helm of Yahoo is uncertain, as she faces both a possible sale of the Internet company and a battle for control over the company’s board.

In an interview on PBS’s “The Charlie Rose Show” Thursday, Mayer was asked by Rose whether she thought she would be running Yahoo a year from now.

“I would love to be running Yahoo,” Mayer replied. “We have a three-year strategic plan.”

Yahoo has formally launched a process to explore a sale, with parties interested in kicking the tires on the company reported to include Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Time Inc. “I certainly hope the strategic alternative has a place for me,” she told Rose in the interview. “But that said, we’ll obviously honor our commitments to our shareholders.”

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At the same time, Mayer’s job could be in jeopardy if activist investor Starboard Value, which has publicly complained about the company’s management and strategy, has its way. Starboard has threatened to nominate a slate of new directors prior to the March 26 proxy-filing deadline. On Thursday, Yahoo named two new independent directors — Catherine Friedman, former managing director of Morgan Stanley, and former Broadcom CFO Eric Brandt — reportedly without consulting Starboard.

Mayer, in the Rose interview, said she remains committed to her new turnaround strategy, announced in early February. That includes cutting 15% of Yahoo’s workforce and shutting down underperforming businesses. Under the plan, Yahoo will focus on Search, Mail and microblogging site Tumblr, and will pare down to four content verticals — news, sports, finance and lifestyle — in growth markets.

“We can see the turnaround,” Mayer said. Tech company turnarounds can take “five, six, seven years,” she added. Mayer, a former top Google exec in charge of search products and user experience, was named Yahoo’s CEO in 2012 — its seventh chief executive in about five years.

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