Analysts react as Marissa Mayer leaves Yahoo with US$186 million

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Marissa Mayer
Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo, participates in a panel discussion at the 2015 Fortune Global Forum in San Francisco, California November 3, 2015. Reuters/Elijah Nouvelage

Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer has declared her resignation after the firm’s $6 billion sale to Verizon. Some years she spent in leading the Sunnyvale internet firm were notable for two world-record hacks of user data and failure to reverse its dwindling fortune.

But Mayer chose to stress the company’s achievements that were largely overshadowed by the troubles in her message to employees. She noted that Yahoo has drawn in over one billion monthly users, while the number of monthly mobile users rose to 650 million.

Analyst Scott Kessler of CFRA Research said that Mayer can rightfully highlight the accomplishments of Yahoo under her leadership, but pointed out that her final message to workers was not the overall picture. "There's probably more to be proud of than many had understood or acknowledged, but I think it's fair to say that the letter does not paint a completely comprehensive or objective picture of Yahoo over the last five years," he said as per the Sydney Morning Herald.

Based on a recent survey from business insights website Owler, Mayer performed the worst of all CEOs in public tech companies. The 42-year-old was given a 32.8 rating out of 100. The second-lowest rating of all public company CEOs was given to her, only one rank ahead of United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz.

Last year, the New York Times detailed Yahoo employees' lack of faith in Mayer. The publication had discovered a lost faith in Mayer’s leadership after conversations with over 15 current and former employees from all levels of the firm. Most of the employees who spoke up did so on the condition of anonymity due to Yahoo’s strict policy against leaks.

Despite the low ratings, Mayer is reportedly leaving Yahoo with US$186 million (AU$244 million) in stock, stock options, and restricted stock units. Former Yahoo President Sue Decker told CNBC on Friday that Mayer’s pay package is on the "egregious side.”

"Given what happened in the performance of the company, it seems on the egregious side," Decker pointed. In an interview on "Squawk Box," she said she did not have knowledge about Mayer's negotiation of the pay package.

Meanwhile, Women in Technology International president David Leighton said Mayer's tenure as Yahoo's chief executive was subjected to scrutiny by the media, analysts and investors, pointing out how much of the attacks arose because of her gender. He called her an “off-the-charts genius” and argued a “female leader who acts aggressively is derided.”

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