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
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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