Hypocrisy in Yahoo CEO’s show up to work or quit edict?

In my last post on the Yahoo CEO’s (Marissa Mayer) new “show up to work or quit” edict I voiced my support.  I do support re-humanizing human interactions.

However, after talking with a student here at CSUS, face to face by the way, I found out the Yahoo CEO  had a nursery built at the Yahoo facility for her newborn.  Yes, she used her money to do it.  But it is still in the company building.

So, if other Yahoo employees have money to build a nursery in the next cube, would they be allowed?  I doubt it.  Therein lies the hypocrisy.  Face to face time is important, the CEO is living it.  Family is important.  The CEO is bringing the family with her to work.

But what is Marissa Mayer doing to facilitate work-life balance of those less fortunate employees who can’t afford to build a nursery at work and are no longer allowed to work from home?

Let me quote one of the comments on the article:

Here’s the problem I have with her and her actions. She was elected to the CEO position in July of 2012, and immediately announced upon her acceptance that she was pregnant. She stated that the board knew in advance, and they very well may have. She then announced that she didn’t plan to really take a maternity leave, and spent the weeks she took off before and after the birth of her child working from home. So, in the span of less than a year, this high profile woman in a tech field has dismissed maternity leave as unnecessary – assuming that you consider working from home as actually working (which I suspect at least to some large degree it was). After then taking advantage of the option to work from home during her maternity non-leave, she has now decided that no one else should be allowed to do the same. She, of course, doesn’t need to as she has utilized company resources (office space and utilities) to create her own personal daycare at her office. Clearly, the only concern Ms. Mayer has is for herself.

I will conclude with stating I support face-to-face interaction and work/life balance.  I hope Yahoo’s new CEO figures out how to make that happen for everyone and not just herself.

Fisman: CEO right: Face time needed at Yahoo

So, as humans we still need to interact face to face? See this article.  Here’s a quote:

More recent time use studies by researchers at Harvard, the London School of Economics and Columbia have found that little has changed. Despite the IT revolution, business leaders still spend 80% of their time in face-to-face meetings.

So, as educators we should be mindful of the push for online content.  A measured approach towards online incorporation is needed to ensure we are training business leaders and not solely customer service representatives.

But then again, somebody has to be a customer service representative, right?  Oh, I don’t have all the answers.  In the end, I applaud the effort to re-humanize the work environment.  May it be successful.

Potential Facebook revenue stream or distraction from underlying economic problem?

A recent article by The Economist describes how microlenders are using social media to assess creditworthiness.  However a prior article also by The Economist suggests microlending has been discredited.

The real problem, as outlined in Aftershock by Robert Reich, is that lending has expanded because wages of the 99% have remained stagnant or declined. More efficient lending and credit analysis is not what this world needs long term. What we need is wages of the 99% to rise so they do not have to borrow so much.

HP’s Whitman Earned $15 Million in 2012 After Target Miss – Bloomberg

Before I begin, this post is nothing personal against Meg Whitman or any other executive.  They are acting in their best interests.  This post is about exposing the systematic problems we face where, put simply, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  I hope to continue shedding light on the truth about compensation and “performance.”  I hope to show that wealth is being transferred from the many (stockholders, which may be you via your pension funds, mutual funds, 401k plans, etc.) to the few (executives like Meg Whitman).  Now, on to the Meg Whitman and HP article…

Based on information in the article below, shares of HP declined 39% the past year. During that time Meg Whitman earned $15.4 million.  In the prior fiscal year Meg Whitman earned $16.5 million while serving on HP’s board of directors. Don’t be fooled by her $1 salary.  If you have a choice of paying yourself with dollars taxed at 39% (salary) or dollars taxed at 15% (stock and options) which would you choose?

Now, let me add a little more data.  To begin, mergent online’s data on Whitman’s compensation is consistent with the article ($16.5 million in fiscal 2011). Using stock prices from Yahoo Finance, let’s look at Whitman’s time at HP:

  • 2011.01.24, Whitman on board at HP, stock price $45.51
  • 2011.09.26, Whitman CEO of HP, stock price $22.45
  • 2012.10.01, one year anniversary of Whitman as CEO, stock price $14.73
  • 2012.10.31, end of FY2012, stock price $13.76
  • 2013.01.11, stock price $16.16

So, the stock has declined from $45.51 upon Whitman’s arrival at HP as a board member to $16.16 now as CEO.  Yet she received $15.4 + $16.5 = $31.9 million dollars in compensation?  I suppose she needs that money to feed her family.  Speaking of that, why are professional athletes villainized for demanding $15 million to feed their families and executives like Whitman praised as “smart”?

Speaking of “smart,” let’s look at a some of Whitman’s other accomplishments.  Starting with Ebay, Whitman was CEO while the stock price dropped more than 50% to the tune of $30 billion in lost market value.  How about that Skype purchase and loss of $1 billion?  How about the nearly $9 billion loss on the purchase of Autonomy?  How about her campaign for governor of California?  Whitman spent $177 million, outspending her competitor Jerry brown by a factor of 4, and still lost.  That “performance” is good enough to be on the board of HP and even the CEO.  Before I forget, Meg Whitman is also being sued by the Feds for anti-competitive practices that effectively increased her compensation while reducing labor force pay.

I could go on but I hope you see the point.  Once you are part of the 1% you stay there even if you mess up.  You remain there as long as you play the game of transferring wealth from the masses (stockholders) to yourself (executive) via $1 salaries and $16 million stock option packages.  Don’t forget to lobby and convince the public not to raise dividend and capital gains taxes so you can extend the wealth gap.  That is the real sad part.  Executives essentially “pimp” the 99% to vote for policies that benefit the 1% (at the expense of the 99%) all based on the promise of “in America you can be the 1%.”  A reggae artist once said “a promise is a comfort to a fool.”

I better stop.  Finally, the article referenced in the title of this post: