Is Business Insider Trying to Destroy Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer?

Would you expect to see this headline in a business publication,“Awkward! Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Hired A New CMO While The Current CMO Was On Vacation.”

This was written by Business Insider giving a whole new meaning to “insider,” and it has little to do with “business.”

Alternatively, the Associated Press (AP) also wrote about the move:“Yahoo’s new CEO finds her chief marketing officer.” Apparently failing to get the big journalistic scoop that Business Insider received.  Instead, the AP filled their story with ridiculous info completely unrelated to business about Yahoo!’s new CMO, Kathy Savitt, “Before launching Lockerz in 2009, Savitt was a marketing and communications sharpshooter at retailers American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and Inc.”

Writer Nicholas Carlson is deputy editor of Business Insider, previously reporting ” for Gawker Media’s Silicon Valley gossip blog, Valleywag.” His prior experience sticks out like a sore thumb. As a “business insider” Carlson should have noted that Mayer Yahoo!’s the FIFTH CEO in FIVE YEARS. That’s a lot of pressure. If he had noted that, and perhaps thought about it, he would have realized how absurd his lead paragraph sounded:

“Because there is a new CEO at Yahoo, ex-Googler Marissa Mayer, most Yahoo senior executives who got their jobs under prior CEOs assume that they are going to find themselves replaced in the next 18 months.”

Did he say 18 months? In the world of search and technology, 18 months can translate to a decade.

Is Carlson unfairly targeting Mayer? Not necessarily, but he is trying to diminish her power in the eyes of Silicon Valley. Instead of treating her with the respect that she deserves, he crafts a story that makes her seem like a dim-witted sorority girl replacing important positions with her clique. He barely acknowledges Savitt who built Lockerz from 50 accounts to 16 million in one year. Dismissing her talent and casting her as the colluding partner. Even the comments approved for posting skew the story. Mayer should be measured by the same yardstick as new head coaches, eager to assemble a team for a winning season. Coaches are expected to win right out of the gate, so should CEOs. Mayer has vision and a plan, just six weeks after being named CEO.

As for the “source” contacting Carlson because she was blindsided when she was fired on vacation, I can tell you from experience that the news was about the leak and Mayer let Spillman know before it hit the papers. It’s a small community and everyone wants the scoop.  To characterize Mayer as cold hearted instead of a strategic decision maker is irresponsible for any 21st Century writer. Spillman was also apparently asked to stay according to the Business Insider. Carlson called that offer “the kicker.”


Business Insider is a distraction at best, at worst it is a sad monument to what Silicon Valley has degraded into – men and women who take pride in stories that demoralize and demean those who try.  It’s not a new concept.  Marian Anderson, the famed African-American contralto said, “As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might.” My dear Uncle Donald (made an honorary GIRLFRIEND) reminded me of this fact once when he said, “In life there are eagles and ducks. Eagles soar. Ducks quack.”

Dare to be an eagle.