During an interview that is sure to draw criticism from women across the nation, Scott Galloway, an outspoken professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, directly attacked the existence of Yahoo and its CEO, Marissa Mayer.
Specifically, in an interview with Tom Keene on Bloomberg Surveillance, Galloway proffered that Mayer is “the most overpaid CEO in history” and that the reason she has kept her job as the struggling company’s CEO is because she recently announced that is pregnant with twins. He stated that, “If she hadn’t announced that she was pregnant with twins, she’d be out of a job within six months.”
Galloway went even further when he insinuated that Yahoo would face a major backlash if Mayer was fired after her pregnancy announcement. He stated that, “I don’t think any board in America right now in technology that’s as visible as Yahoo wants to be seen as not leaning in. She got a reprieve from death row because she’s pregnant with twins.”
The concept of “leaning in” comes from the book published by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. The essence of the book is that women need to be more assertive at work and not let biases keep them from pushing forward.
Despite his assessment regarding Mayer’s continued employment due to her pregnancy, Galloway also pointed out that as her tenure as CEO, she has made the most questionable and worst acquisitions in the technology industry and he described Yahoo as simply an “accidental hedge fund” that should die out. “We should put a bullet in the head of this story called Yahoo. It’s time to euthanize this thing.”
In fact, Galloway described Yahoo’s board of directors and its actions as a good lesson in failed corporate governance. He suggested that the company would fare much better if controlled by other management, citing Microsoft as an example.
It is likely that Galloway’s widely publicized comments are not the only driver of Yahoo's depressed stock price. Yahoo's stock tanked yesterday after it received bad news regarding its planned tax-free spinoff from Alibaba, China’s equivalent of Amazon. While all hope is not lost for Yahoo’s plans, the IRS declined to provide Yahoo with a “private letter ruling” which essentially would guarantee that the spin-off plan satisfied IRS requirements.
Galloway’s depiction of Mayer is not the only criticism she has received lately. She received an enormous online backlash after she announced that she would return to work two weeks after giving birth to her twins.