After 40 months of delusional and ineffectual leadership, it's time for Yahoo! (YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer to go.
Yesterday's earnings results were bad. Earnings and revenues fell below analysts' constantly lowered expectations.
Then Mayer and CFO Ken Goldman lowered fourth-quarter guidance. That would be for the holiday quarter -- the biggest quarter of the year.
But Mayer scored the hat trick while on the earnings call when she spewed utter nonsense in defending her performance:
Example 1: "We will continue to be disciplined on our headcount and our thoughtful work on this area has helped appreciably on expenses."
Mayer crowed that Yahoo! was down to 12,000 employees. Yet, Facebook (FB) has materially fewer people (9,000) with materially more revenue. Mayer also dramatically increased her headcount before realizing she was driving off a cliff and needed to cut back. Yahoo! should have no more than 4,000 people given its current size -- and maybe fewer.
Example 2: "Recently, there has been external interest and speculation in a few shifts amidst our management team. The design and changes in Yahoo!'s leadership team are the result of careful planning to achieve the necessary skills, passion, and the ability to execute growth in our business. Our leadership team today is unequivocally the strongest during my tenure."
Even if you buy Mayer's argument that she basically fired Jackie Reses, Kathy Savitt, Mike Kerns and Henrique de Castro (among dozens of others) -- which I do not, especially Mike Kerns who would be 10x a better CEO for Yahoo! than Mayer -- have you ever heard a CEO get on an earnings call and throw a bunch of ex-employees under the bus like this?
Don't forget, Mayer hired de Castro, Savitt and Reses. In fact, she gave Savitt more responsibility midway through her tenure.
So how can it be that none of them had the "necessary skills, passion, and the ability to execute growth in our business"? Why were they hired and promoted then?
There's a pattern here. Mayer hires people, gushes over them, and puts them in her inner circle of people who are total yes people to her. Later, they seem to have some falling out. The next thing you know, she's firing them (de Castro) or implying that she fired them (above).
Example 3: "Turning to our product progress, we continue to pride ourselves on being the indispensable guide to digital information across search, communications, and digital content."
Are you kidding me?
Example 4: "We'll also continue the momentum needed to drive our Gemini platform forward by moving additional demand to the system and building a robust marketplace. As we discussed on our last earnings call, this investment will suppress revenue in the short-term but will result in better monetization over the long-term."
In case you didn't know, "suppress" is code for "there's no chance we'll ever make any money from this."
Example 5: Mayer commonly throws in words on her call such as "as you know" and "as we discussed on our last call..."
This kind of language is the height of arrogance and disdain toward shareholders and analysts. What she's saying is essentially "don't complain, you idiots, I've carefully telegraphed that it would take 40 months to have no progress to speak of... so don't question my turnaround."
Example 6: "Overall, we are optimistic about our prospects in the communications space."
Did you notice what she talked about in the communications section of her prepared remarks? Mail. What didn't she talk about? Livetext which she launched in the third quarter as Yahoo!'s version of Snapchat/Instagram. It was a complete bomb. Therefore, pretend it didn't happen after hyping it up.
Example 7: "To date, our Daily Fantasy Sports offerings have exceeded our expectations in engagement and revenue."
Translation: Our expectations couldn't be lower.
Example 8: "Last quarter, we also announced our partnership with the NFL to deliver the first free global live stream of an NFL game."
I would love it if Mayer would reveal how much they paid the NFL to air this game on Sunday and what they will make in ad revenue. But you will never hear that.
Example 9: "This quarter we acquired Polyvore, a leading social commerce site that lets users across the globe discover and shop for their favorite products in fashion, beauty, and home décor."
Have you ever heard of it? What do you think the chances are that you'll ever use it now that it's part of Yahoo!? Is it therefore worth $250 million? Oh, and did you know the CEO used to be a direct report of Mayer's at Alphabet (GOOGL, GOOG)?
Example 10: "We're pleased with the growth of mobile engagement on Tumblr, with mobile usage increasing at the industry rate, if not faster."
What happened to the commitment that Tumblr would generate $100 million in revenue this year? Are we just pretending we didn't promise that now?
Example 11: "Now turning to revenue, as we endeavor to build a truly global advertising business, it's critical for us to create a unified global effort for our customers. To that end, in Q3, Lisa Utzschneider was promoted to Chief Revenue Officer. "
Translation: Watch your back, Lisa. You could be under the bus next quarter.
Example 12: "Mobile now contributes at least 24% of our traffic-driven revenue."
Translation: Isn't it great that 76% of our revenues come from PCs 3 1/2 years after my start date?
And "at least"? You don't know?
I could go on. But I won't.
There needs to be an immediate change at the top of Yahoo! Enough is enough