How Marissa Mayer Fell Asleep and Kept Ad Executives Waiting for Hours

Jun 23, 2014

How Marissa Mayer Fell Asleep and Kept Ad Executives Waiting for Hours


For media companies, the Cannes advertising festival is all about getting face time with top media buyers and advertisers.Yahoo YHOO -1.20% CEO Marissa Mayer missed a golden opportunity to do just that last week.

Last Tuesday evening,Interpublic Group IPG -0.56% arranged a private dinner at the swanky L’Oasis for Mayer to meet executives from marketers such asMondelez International MDLZ -0.69%, brewer MillerCoors and Greek yogurt maker Chobani. It was supposed to be a chance for Interpublic and some of its clients to get a first hand update from Mayer on what Yahoo has to offer.

But Mayer was nearly two hours late, and several dinner attendees including  IPG Chief Executive Michael Roth ended up leaving before she arrived, people familiar with the matter said.

Mayer told some attendees that she had fallen asleep, some of the people said.

“If it were an investor meeting, a board meeting or a potential acquisition, I am sure she or someone from her team would have woken her up,” said one top executive in attendance.  “It is another instance where she demonstrated that she doesn’t understand the value of clients, ad revenue or agencies,” the person added.

A Yahoo spokeswoman declined to comment other than to note “we value our partnership with IPG and all of our advertisers.”

Mayer’s hopes of improving Yahoo’s performance depends a great deal on improving Yahoo’s relationship with marketers and Madison Avenue.  Yahoo has seen its share of the U.S. display advertising market decline over the past few years as marketers have shifted ad dollars to others such as Facebook and Google.

Wooing advertisers became a bigger part of Ms. Mayer’s job after she fired her chief operating officer Henrique de Castro, several months ago.  At the time, the company said it would not fill his post and Ms. Mayer said she would focus more of her time on advertisers.



About bambooinnovator
KB Kee is the Managing Editor of the Moat Report Asia (, a research service focused exclusively on highlighting undervalued wide-moat businesses in Asia; subscribers from North America, Europe, the Oceania and Asia include professional value investors with over $20 billion in asset under management in equities, some of the world’s biggest secretive global hedge fund giants, and savvy private individual investors who are lifelong learners in the art of value investing. KB has been rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as an analyst in Asian capital markets. He was head of research and fund manager at a Singapore-based value investment firm. As a member of the investment committee, he helped the firm’s Asia-focused equity funds significantly outperform the benchmark index. He was previously the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. KB has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy, value investing, macroeconomic and industry trends, and detecting accounting frauds in Singapore, HK and China. KB was a faculty (accounting) at SMU teaching accounting courses. KB is currently the Chief Investment Officer at an ASX-listed investment holdings company since September 2015, helping to manage the listed Asian equities investments in the Hidden Champions Fund. Disclaimer: This article is for discussion purposes only and does not constitute an offer, recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any investments, securities, futures or options. All articles in the website reflect the personal opinions of the writer.

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