According to the Harvard Business Review’s report of the top 10 best performing CEOs, it is not the year-to-year financials of the company that are most important, but rather the lifetime performance of the CEO.
While this mentality may not be the most common among businesses, it is one that defines the choices Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has made in recent weeks. Being criticized for the last few years over her inability to maintain a steady stock price, Mayer has been anything but concerned with price over the last couple of weeks. Instead, the only concern with money for Mayer was how to equally distribute it back into her company following all of the grief Yahoo experienced after reports of a security breach between 2013 and 2014 surfaced late last year.
Between 2013 and 2014, Russian hackers Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin gained access to millions of subscribers’ information affiliated with Google, Yahoo and several other webmail providers. This information, while not entirely pivotal pieces of people’s lives, included a launched search for information as confidential as credit card numbers and login passwords to coveted e-commerce companies and websites.
While consumers were impacted for a short time before the Department of Justice’s intervention occurred, such hacks had an impact on Yahoo’s financial status. Before the hacks became public, Yahoo had accepted a deal to be bought by Verizon, which was cut after the breaches in security were disclosed. This huge loss would not only cut employee benefits, but potentially shift the stock further downhill from its already declining presence in the market. However, Mayer had a different idea in mind.
Even following the loss of $350 million, Mayer would stand to make what can only be referred to as a golden parachute compensation of $23 million. The payout would be an amalgamation of a $3 million cash lump sum, equities and benefits. However, despite popular dismay, this $23 million will not go directly into Mayer’s pockets, but rather into the company she finds “so important to see in its next chapter.”
Previously, Mayer revealed that not only would her annual bonus go to the Yahoo employees, but also her entire equity stock grant would be added as a gesture of good will for enduring the two security breaches.
Another important factor in Mayer’s leadership is her cooperation with the DOJ. Often at odds with the law on various infringements and copyright laws, Silicon Valley has become pivotal in the DOJ’s mission “to make cybersecurity a top priority, whilst protecting private communications from cybercriminals under the rule of law.”
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord said that Mayer and the other Yahoo officials “have tirelessly cooperate[d] with this investigation.” Mayer responded with “deep gratitude to the DOJ for bringing charges against those responsible.”
While all of these statements and facts may seem simply qualitative, it is the way in which the individual governs his or her company that should be taken into account, not solely the numbers. Regardless of the popular opinion of Mayer’s results over the preceding years, there is no denial of the fact that she has put all of what Yahoo lost back into her company.