Marissa Mayer Channeled 'The Wizard of Oz' in Bizarre $70,000 Team-Building Photo Shoot

Former Staff Writer
2 min read

If Marissa Mayer clicks her heels together three times, might she be transported to a place where Yahoo’s dismal earnings and dwindling turnaround prospects look slightly less bleak?

Probably not. But in a rather whimsical morale-boosting initiative earlier this year uncovered by Re/code’s Kara Swisher, Mayer dreamed up a lavish affair inspired by The Wizard of Oz. At an offsite last fall north of San Francisco, Mayer cast top staffers as characters from the film for a photo shoot -- bedecked in full Yellow Brick Road regalia -- to be displayed as a poster at the company’s holiday party, which was themed, ‘There’s no place like here.’

While Mayer cast herself as Dorothy (obviously), complete with blue-ribboned braids and a cheeky grin, other top execs fared slightly less well. Jacqueline Reses, for instance, a development chief who was cast as the Wicked Witch, departed the company last month.

Related: Is Marissa Mayer Running Out of Time?

The cost of the photo shoot? A staggering $70,000 -- which reportedly inspired eye rolls from fellow staffers.

However, this isn’t the first over-the-top holiday party conceived by Mayer in which she also managed to cast herself as a kind of star. In 2013, Mayer hosted a Christmas party at her Silicon Valley home in which she ordered an ice rink to be constructed in her backyard and rode in on a mini-Zamboni.

Though these might sound like giddily inventive culture-building ventures (or, tacky and wasteful money sucks, depending on your wont), the revelations come at an inopportune moment for Mayer, as, roughly three years into her polarizing tenure, Yahoo’s fate now looks decidedly more deflated than ever before.

Related: Yahoo's Marissa Mayer Is Expecting Identical Twin Girls

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