Yahoo is now under the umbrella of Verizon, and that left one CEO too many on the employee organizational chart. Marissa Mayer had to go. But what will the former Yahoo CEO do next? She opened up about that question in a recent interview with Business Insider.
Right out of the gate, the popular former CEO made it clear she wants to erase that “former” designation. It won’t be at Yahoo, but she wants to captain the ship somewhere … and Marissa has some ideas. And the Business Insider piece tried to offer at least one other: Uber.
Earlier this year, Uber’s troubled CEO Travis Kalanick resigned, leaving a company already struggling without a definite leader. Mayer, known to come in when companies need a life preserver, might be a good candidate. At least that’s what one magazine had to say about it. Uber, however, has not reached out to Mayer, according to her.
But she did have something intriguing to say to the San Francisco Chronicle recently: “I count Travis as one of my friends. I think he’s a phenomenal leader; Uber is ridiculously interesting…”
If Mayer has a previous connection with Uber, and the company is looking for a young, innovative CEO there may be some traction there. But no one with any decision-making power is talking about that publicly…at least not yet.
That said, Business Insider isn’t wrong. Courting Mayer would have some upside for Uber. Kalanick left in a cloud of sexual harassment allegations at the company and not long after the embarrassing video of him profanely berating an Uber driver went viral on social media. Those allegations, along with the firing of at least 20 Uber employees led to other – perhaps spurious – allegations. Bringing in a dynamic female CEO might address some of those lingering negatives.
That’s not to say Mayer’s a lock. Some have said going after Mayer, especially after things weren’t exactly rosy at Yahoo, may be too much of an overcorrection by a company trying to dig its way out of a series of embarrassing PR problems. And it’s not like Mayer doesn’t have PR issues of her own. CNBC recently dubbed her the “least likable” CEO in the tech sector. That’s saying a lot given the market’s recent public relations issues.
Mayer was flagged for “routinely” arriving late and for operating as a micromanager. These are certainly not traits Uber wants associated with its brand. At this point, though, all of this is speculation. The only thing that’s for sure is that all parties involved could use more than a little PR help.