Yahoo’s new CEO Mayer to work through maternity leave


Yahoo-CEO

(Associated Press)

Most expectant mothers who hold down a 9-to-5er welcome maternity leave as a period of recuperation and bonding with the new arrival.

This might be a challenge, however, for Marissa Mayer, a former Google executive and now the new chief executive officer of Yahoo. After the Monday announcement that she will take over  at Yahoo, Mayer disclosed that she and her husband, investor and entrepreneur Zack Bogue, are expecting a child in October.

Mayer, however, plans to do something many new moms on leave probably don’t even think about, or do they?

“My maternity leave will be a few weeks long, and I’ll work throughout it,” Mayer told the Yahoo board of trustees while interviewing for the job, according to NBCnews.com. In a tweet, she said she was expecting a baby boy.

Mayer, a 37-year-old expert in artificial intelligence, was a Google vice president in charge of Google Maps, Google Earth and Street View. According to CNN.com, she is responsible for the “minimalist home page” that greets Google searchers and was the first female engineer Google had ever hired when she joined the company 13 years ago.

She’ll have her work cut out for her at Yahoo, which might explain why she’s toiling through her maternity. Mayer, who The Wall Street Journal says has a “limited management track record”, will be the financially struggling company’s  fifth CEO in five years. Yahoo also announced in April that it was cutting 14 percent of its 14,100 workforce, and Mayer comes in the midst of the downsizing.

Emory University management consultant Kevin Coyne  told the Journal, “It’s an incredible challenge. If she succeeds, it will be a landmark case for women everywhere.”

Some might say she’s setting an unreasonable bar for women lower on the Yahoo career ladder who might feel pressured to work while on maternity leave.

Still others might applaud Mayer’s ability to juggle Yahoo’s myriad demands and the challenges of a newborn.

What do you think?

68 comments Add your comment

LB

July 17th, 2012
5:42 pm

I applaud her for her decision. She is new at the company and she had to show that she is committed to the job. Therefore, this compliment the sentiments that a woman CAN NOT have it all. You choose a family or your career. Mayer has chosen her career.

gadem

July 17th, 2012
5:59 pm

I applaud her because she will not be doing it along. She has a husband, and I am sure that he will assist in rearing their child.

Fun Size

July 17th, 2012
6:18 pm

A girl’s gotta do what a girls gotta do……

Katherine

July 17th, 2012
6:33 pm

When you decide to have a child you do so knowing that somethings have to come second. Unfortunatly it seems that Mayers first prioty is her job and not her helpless newborn who didn’t ask to be born to a mother that considers him a runnerup to her job. To me it is sad that she has chosen her career over her son. If a career is that important then that’s fine, just don’t have any children then. Leave baby making and child rearing to those that understand how special and important children are.

Peggy

July 17th, 2012
6:37 pm

I’m sorry, but I do not agree with her decision. She only has ONE chance to bond with this child, to experience his first weeks of life. She is sending a bad message to other female employees in the firm, they’ll think they have to do the same thing in order to prove their “commitment” to the job.

She doesn’t have to prove herself, her track record speaks for itself. And Yahoo certainly knew she was pregnant when they hired her, so it’s not like maternity leave / time off wasn’t expected.

Women can have it all (including maternity leave), and I think maternity leave should be mandatory, with pay.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

July 17th, 2012
6:38 pm

She’s getting paid big to do a big job, she will have plenty of nanny help, likely all certified neo-natal nurses ( i know i would). The baby will be fine..Yahoo probably won’t be, but at this point, you can’t exactly blame her for a decade of other peoples stupid decisions..

Joe

July 17th, 2012
6:40 pm

Time to put on her big girl panties if she wants to be CEO. Men have been sucking it up forever. Welcome to the club ladies.

Yeah Doggie

July 17th, 2012
6:45 pm

More time in the kitchen means better sandwiches for Zack.

kwhit

July 17th, 2012
6:47 pm

Ms. Mayer’s actions are business as usual for millions of American women. I’m sure she will do well with a couple of live in nannies. No schlepping an infant to daycare for her in the morning. Newsflash, most companies don’t even offer maternity leave to women who have not been with the company for at least a year. Most companies employing less than 50 people do not even have to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

another comment

July 17th, 2012
6:56 pm

I had a management position when my first daughter was born 18 years ago. We had to use our own sick leave for maternity leave. I worked until my due date. I had planned on taking 6 weeks off after my child was born. But then the attorney’s at work kept calling me and asking me questions. This was not an occassional call, but everyday, for several hours. So after the babysitter agreed to take my daughter at 5 weeks, I just went back to work then. Why burn up my sick time, when work was going to burn it up.

Then 5.5 years later, I just made plans to only take 4 full weeks off with my second daughter, then too work part time for the next 4 weeks. In all taking a total of 6 full weeks off. I figured it would be the same thing, work calling me again, especially the lawyers. I had to arrange with the daycare to take my daughter at 4 weeks and even pay the full week rate for a month for them to do this.

Ironically, a couple of years latter the same female lawyer who bugged me nonstop during my maternity leaves adopted a baby from vietnam and took 3 full months of maternity leave and made it very clear not to disturb her. I was like how dare her. She did not even birth this child and did not have a body trying to recover from childbirth. Several times I was tempted to call her for the hell of it, but I could not bring my self down to her level and never did call.

My relationship is closer to my children than many full time moms. Not everyone has a husband who is driven and makes 6 figures that allows a wife to stay at home and raise children. Me personnally, I find it boring as hell. That is why I am now a serial blogger, since I injured my back and had to retire early. I have to do something with my time. I can’t just sit around and talk with a bunch of wifes who want to believe that their husbands aren’t messing around at work.

Ex Help Desk

July 17th, 2012
7:25 pm

I worked as a help desk analyst at a company several years ago and was told that it was against the law for a woman to “work” thru her maternity leave if she was taking leave under FMLA. A Sr VP called to have her VPN access worked on while on maternity leave and I had to terminate the access to make sure she was within the guidelines and was instructed to do so by our HR group and Legal group.

Guess things have changed even though this was only 6 or so years ago..,best of luck to her, the kid, and all the live in nannies

grandmama

July 17th, 2012
7:26 pm

Where is there a CEO who would actually be caring for a baby ? A nanny would be there if she is working or not. Just what I think

Staci

July 17th, 2012
7:56 pm

A parent can be great at parenting – and still work, do well at their job. Nothing new here.

Mama

July 17th, 2012
7:59 pm

I had my second child by emergency c-section and my uterus ruptured. I had a 2 year old at home and a husband that couldn’t support our family. I did not get any paid maternity leave and therefore I had to return to work 13 days after giving birth. A girl has to do what a girl has to do!

Monroe's First Redcoat

July 17th, 2012
8:15 pm

It’s HER business and no one else’s. Just remember the ground rules – if she’s a liberal. her working through her leave is a bold, dynamic statement for working women everywhere. If she’s a conservative, then she’s a misguided greedy fool who has lost all sense of her priorities.

Momma

July 17th, 2012
8:32 pm

Her mind isn’t made up till the baby comes. She may well change her tune when she sees his beautiful face.

WestOfAthens

July 17th, 2012
8:47 pm

Key word(s):

5th CEO in Five Years

Curious how this involves me though, does this decision affect my daily habits? Nope, failure is derived by those that enforce the same. Destiny seems more pronounced.

A real mom

July 17th, 2012
8:53 pm

She won’t raise her child anyway. A nanny will. Why did she bother getting pregnant?

RGB

July 17th, 2012
9:29 pm

Emory Egghead: “If she succeeds, it will be a landmark case for women everywhere.”

So is the converse true? “If she fails, it will be the death knell for women everywhere.”

I guess we’ll never get pass the race and gender aspects of failure and success due to idiotic comments such as this one.

If she succeeds it will be because she and the company have a well-executed strategic plan supported by sufficient organizational resources to accomplish their objectives.

That she succeeds or fails won’t reflect marvelously or pitifully on women everywhere: She’s simply a CEO who happens to be a woman. Why can’t we leave it at that?

Perhaps the inane comment is a reflection on Emory grads everywhere.

Chris

July 17th, 2012
9:31 pm

“…others might applaud Mayer’s ability to juggle Yahoo’s myriad demands and the challenges of a newborn…”

How is she managing the challenges of a newborn?

RGB

July 17th, 2012
9:31 pm

“…my uterus ruptured.”

Honey, I think I’m gonna have to pass on that dessert tonight. I’m suddenly not, uh, feelin’ so…..

Atlanta Mom

July 17th, 2012
9:37 pm

This is insulting: “Most expectant mothers who hold down a 9-to-5er welcome maternity leave ‘
What would make you think she has a 9-5 job? What executive does?

Atlanta Mom

July 17th, 2012
9:38 pm

And why is there NEVER an article like this if the executive is a male?

Chris

July 17th, 2012
9:51 pm

Atlanta Mom: How is it insulting? Insulting to moms or executives???

I think the only thing insulting is that there are not enough female CEOs to make a comparison in regards to taking maternity leave. That would be an interesting comparison.

Atlanta Mom

July 17th, 2012
9:59 pm

It is insulting to think that this woman is a high powered executive and she did it working 9-5.

LGDC

July 17th, 2012
10:19 pm

Good for her. If this was a man, no one would be writing about this. She is groundbreaking for women CEOs. Makes me want to use Yahoo! more because they were still willing to hire her knowing she was pregnant when she was interviewing.

DawgNole

July 17th, 2012
10:29 pm

Atlanta Mom
July 17th, 2012
9:38 pm

And why is there NEVER an article like this if the executive is a male?
____________________

Because males don’t get pregnant.

Meat Ralph

July 17th, 2012
11:12 pm

She spent 13 years at Google and was most recently passed over for someone else for a senior position. Obviously it didn’t sit well with her and she resigned by phone stating Yahoo hired her. Google hired that other person for a reason over her, obviously. Time will tell for Yahoo if it was a wise decision hiring her.

But one has to wonder. Does Obama think Marissa Mayer didn’t get to where she is on her own and other people made it happen for her? He sure thinks so about those who take initiative and risk to start their own business ventures.

Sarah

July 17th, 2012
11:19 pm

So what, working though her maternity leave probably includes sitting on her bed with a laptop on her lap and the baby resting right beside her. Something that most of us middle income workers can never do. Do not tell me for one minute that she will leave and go spend 12 hours per day at the office. I just don’t buy it. Good luck to her though.

LogicallyCorrect

July 17th, 2012
11:47 pm

RGB,

“So is the converse true? ‘If she fails, it will be the death knell for women everywhere.’”

First of all, that is not the converse. Given an initial statement “if P, then Q”, the converse is as follows: “if Q, then P.” What you have is actually known as the inverse: “if not P, then not Q.”

In both cases (the inverse and the converse), the statement is not logically equivalent to the original statement. Therefore, it has no bearing on your argument.

Perhaps before you comment on other peoples’ education, you should check your own.

Lulu

July 18th, 2012
12:16 am

Katherine and Peggy what planet did you two step down from? I had my first child over 50 years ago and when you have a child there ARE certain things you must consider: how you’re going to feed them. I worked until I went into labor, went to Obs and he put me in the hospital for delivery. It turned into a difficult delivery because they gave me a drug that medical schools taught their students not to use… because it was convenient for them. No, I didn’t sue because I worked in that hospital. A week later I was back at my job. And you want me to get excited because this woman does the same thing. Glad to see some people are catching on. Since the invention of the washing machine for clothes a house wife’s job has slowly disappeared with each new invention so that now she is little more than a taxi driver. Give me a break! There are no rules about division of roles but there is one absolute. Support your children/ family by your own worth or do not have them!!!!!!!!!!!

There's a sickness in GA

July 18th, 2012
12:30 am

@Meat Ralph I see what you did there…and you, sir, are a comedic genius. Considering that neither Google, nor Yahoo would exist without the efforts of the government scientists who created ARPANET, i.e. the precursor to our modern-day Internet, I would say that our President doesn’t think Ms. Meyers could have gotten where she is today without the help of others. Oh yeah, she also graduated from a public high school and her teachers were both government employees and union members.

Dragonfly Lady

July 18th, 2012
2:36 am

Katherine
July 17th, 2012
6:33 pm
“Leave baby making and child rearing to those that understand how special and important children are.”
I am offended by this remark.
Not all of us who have no biological or adopted children lack the ability to “understand how special and important children are”
I think children are a great blessing. So great that I spent the last 15 years dedicating myself to caring for other people’s children. i was an LPN in Pediatric Oncology for 5 years, then I volunteered with Give Kids the World while in College pursuing a degree in Education. I worked as a Middle School Science teacher and in Early Childhood Education. I was never during all those years able to conceive, but I was happy raising and caring for other people’s children. So I think “I understand how special and important children are”
Your comment just felt hateful and reminded me of my perpetually empty womb. It made me feel less a bright woman entrusted to raise your kids and more worthless because i cannot “bring forth fruit”

I cannot believe the hate and vitriol for this woman that is spewing forth.
Do you hate her because she is smart? or is it the perceived wealth? could it be the “power”? or is it because she has a desire for equanimity? or is because she has all that and chose to have a family?
Most all the nurses and teachers I worked with took very abbreviated maternity leave (if any at all) and they were all “normal” working class people. I do not know why they took shorter leaves, I was raised that it is rude to ask such a question, I do know that their kids all turned out OK and never questioned their parent’s love for them.

MidnightMom

July 18th, 2012
5:10 am

AJC’s readers never cease to amaze me, The article doesn’t state how much of her maternity leave she would work through. Just because she does doesn’t make her a bad mom. In this economy you do what you have to do to provide for your family.

I just hope she takes enough time to allow her body to properly heal. I had my last child while serving on Active Duty in the military. Yes I had six weeks maternity leave but as soon as I returned to duty I was required to run, etc. When she was 12 months I was required to leave her for a year and go overseas. Praise God she has a wonderful father. She grew up to be just fine.

Mother

July 18th, 2012
6:02 am

What an idiot. She will miss all the time she should be spending with a newborn baby. Guess this will be another baby raised by a nanny or wet nurse. This woman obviously does not care one bit about her family and her baby. She should not even have children.

Jeffy

July 18th, 2012
6:39 am

With a smart phone and a laptop at home she should be fine

Brenda L

July 18th, 2012
7:10 am

Since I have had three children equipped with a husband who loves me/us. Being the CEO of a multi-million dollar company allows Mayer the opportunity to work at home since she will have all the assistance she would need in order to do so. Please do not be as naive as to think she will have a hand in all the feedings, changing’s, doctor’s appointments. That’s ludicrous. So for all those who think this is the way to go, imagine this…being a middle manager and attempting to do the same thing without a nanny, maid and chauffeur. Enough said. I’m not hating on her wealth, but get real.

sissyuga

July 18th, 2012
7:14 am

Interview her 1 month after the baby is born. No doubt she will have live in nannies…. but newborns don’t sleep 16 hours straight….I suppose she will have a night nurse so her precious sleep isn’t interrupted.

CNNSucks

July 18th, 2012
7:21 am

There’s a reason we need at least 6 weeks to recover.. and in the first stages of pregnancy.. we say ALL kinds of crap… lets see what she’s saying in October… She obiviously doesn’t know what’s ahead of her… or she plans on hiring lots of people to raise her kid for her… Clearly this is her first pregnancy b/c she’s talking outside her butt

Dacualan

July 18th, 2012
7:54 am

I think she’s never had a baby before so she doesn’t really know, does she? Probably helps that she can afford round the clock care for her baby…..but still. Why would you have one if you didn’t want to spend time with it. No amount of money could have kept me from my babies. Though to be fair, with my second child, I did HAVE to work just a few days later because of income and I could bring him with me. It was a hard juggle. But by the second, you know what you are doing.

ADub

July 18th, 2012
8:27 am

Selfish decision. I didn’t see any reference to other children so I’m assuming this is her first child. I’m sure she will love her child like all mothers do but nothing compares to being there for your baby. I know it’s probably a chance of a lifetime for her to run Yahoo and she seems like a great choice. It’s clear where her priorities are though. There is a great sermon by Andy Stanley called ‘Choosing to Cheat’. It has to do with the struggle most adults have with balancing work and home. The premise is that one or both of those pieces will get cheated by the person trying to attend to both of them so choose now that you’re going to make God and your family your priority.

I wish her well and know that she’ll see the birth of her child as the miracle that it is and consider a change of heart.

Irrelevant

July 18th, 2012
8:28 am

I searched for the word ‘Obama’ in the comments. Sure enough, I found one.

What's the big deal?

July 18th, 2012
9:13 am

I don’t see what the big fuss is. She’ll be at home with a laptop checking her email, and participating in conference calls for a portion of the day. If she’s the CEO of a company, she cannot just unplug for 6 weeks or however long. Things move and change quickly in a tech company. She needs to keep up on what’s going on.

BeeBaby

July 18th, 2012
9:14 am

It’s a tough call. But in her position, she has the money and resources to provide for her child (nanny, hubby, help, etc.) If it was an employee at a lower level, I would say the decision might be different. And I hope her decision DOESN’T pressure others to work through maternity leave… I have had 2 kids now and I absolutely needed 4-6 weeks to recover.

After my last child, I seriously considered moving to Germany, Norway, or Sweden to take advantage of their 3 years paid maternity leave. Seriously. Yes, we’d have to give up US citizenship, but that might be a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the good of my family!

As to the commenter who said “Men have been sucking it up forever.” Yeah, but last time I checked, men haven’t been physically carrying or delivering babies.

debdoes

July 18th, 2012
9:16 am

Saying it and doing it are two different things. Whether you labor 28 hours or have a C section, you will need time off to recoup. If this is her first, she has no idea what she is in for and forget nursing ever couple hours. So, who is raising this child? Shecwill be remembered for child neglect not stride at Yahoo. As a exec that almost had it all….dont forget the kid!

free

July 18th, 2012
9:30 am

a step backward, not forward…. she’ll probably have a nanny and a personal assistant though.

mg

July 18th, 2012
9:38 am

I’m an engineer and expecting a boy in a few weeks, but am choosing to stay at home for a few years. I work in a cube and though I love my job, it’s not like it won’t be here when I decide to return to work. However, if I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a CEO, I’d go for it! How many little boys can say their mom was a CEO of a technology company?

Women in careers like medicine also can’t really leave their practice and I’d admire my female doctors that are raising children and treating patients at the same time. I don’t think their children will down on their decision when these mom’s have done amazing things in their careers!.

DirtyD

July 18th, 2012
9:40 am

I’m sure this is her first child, therefore she has no idea what she’s in for. Whether you are the CEO of Yahoo, Mayor of Atl, or President of the U.S., once you have a baby-everything changes. I guarantee she will change her mind or have a really hard time dealing with her decision becuase at the end of the day, she is still a woman who will given birth to a new being. Her maternal instincts will kick in and she will regret her decision.

mg

July 18th, 2012
9:51 am

A lot of ladies on this site are exaggerating the bonding experience. There is more to parenting than the first few months of a baby’s life. My mom was in a serious care accident shortly after I was born and was in the hospital for 6 month. My dad had to work, so I was cared for by a wonderful neighbor (who I consider my grandmother).

My mom loves more more than anything and I love her back the same. I’m a functioning member of society with a great husband and job. Life doesn’t always go as planned and kids can adapt to varioius life situations.

GenX

July 18th, 2012
9:55 am

I applaud her for making the decision clear especially as the new CEO for a struggling company. However, this sets a bad precedence for american workers. Where is the line between career and family? This is where we have fallen off the deep end. We provide one of the lowest maternity leaves in the world as it is (e.g. Canada, Europe). When she is the mother of a twenty something, will she look back and be happy about her decision? Doesn’t seem worth it to me and I am a man.