Dick Costolo took Twitter public. Jeff Bezos is transforming Amazon into the “everything” retailer. Sergio Marchionne is resurrecting Chrysler. Those men have led their companies to impressive achievements in 2013. Still, in my book no one has accomplished what Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer, HP’s Meg Whitman and Xerox’s Ursula Burns have this year. Here’s why:
Mayer faced an uphill battle when she was named CEO in the summer of 2012. Yahoo, once a promising player in the race for Internet riches, had been dusted by the likes of Google and Facebook. Despite the millions of users it had drawn over the years, I considered the Silicon Valley (Sunnyvale) company’s prospects as dead as a dial-up modem.
Clearly, Mayer doesn’t give a hoot what most people think. One of her first moves as Chief in 2013 was to ban Yahoo employees from working from home (and this in a region legendary companies were launched by people working in PJs out of their garage). The approach drew widespread criticism at first. But in Mayer’s mind, “to become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side,” she wrote in an internal memo. “That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices.”
The move helped develop a culture of collaboration and devotion at Yahoo. (more…)