Marissa Mayer Speaks Out About Becoming CEO of Yahoo While Pregnant

By Michael Daud

On June 18th, Marissa Mayer had a bold decision to make.  She had received a phone call, being asked by name to serve as CEO of Yahoo, a company worth around $17 billion USD at the time. Working for  Google at the time, she made the bold choice to forgo a maternity leave and take the helm of Yahoo, recently rocked by a scandal when the media got wind that their previous CEO had faked his college credentials.

However, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that I would or could make it work when I got that first phone call. At the time, I was pregnant, and I was thrilled. My soon-to-be-born son already had the most delightful personality—jumping and kicking hundreds of times a day, making me laugh out loud. After 13 years of really hard work at Google, I had been envisioning a glorious six-month maternity leave. However, if I took the new job, a long leave couldn’t happen. The responsibilities were too big, and time was of the essence—it just wouldn’t be fair to the company, the employees, the board, or the shareholders for me to be in the role, but out for an extended period of time.

-leanin.org

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Marissa Mayer in 2012.

Marissa Mayer’s time at Yahoo has proven to be extremely successful  with Yahoo’s stock Rising 49% since she became the chief executive on July 16th 2012, exceeding the growth of Google during the same period by 11%.  She was 28 weeks pregnant when she took the helm of the company.

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Yahoo’s Stock Price From 16-07-2012 to 1-4-2013

Mayer has introduced some bold changes to the company, including a complete redesign of Yahoo’s front page, and requiring employees to work from the office, rather than work at home which was the previous policy —  a move that frustrated some employees. Mrs. Mayer, who is married to a managing partner at a private equity firm, says she still tries to find time for her family even while being CEO of a company she helped grow to be worth almost $26 billion USD.

 I also knew going forward that there wouldn’t be much time beyond my job and my family for anything else. Ultimately, I decided I was fine with that, because my family and my job are what really matter to me.

Michael Daud, 2013.

Photo of Marissa Mayer licensed under creative commons.

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