Marissa Mayer Has Resigned Now That Verizon Purchased Yahoo. Read Her Farewell Letter.
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Walking away with a $23 million severance package, Marissa Mayer on Tuesday confirmed her previously announced resignation from her post as CEO of Yahoo now that its $4.48 billion acquisition by Verizon is official. Yahoo and AOL will now be a new company named Oath under the Verizon umbrella.
Mayer, a former Googler who was picked to lead Yahoo in 2012, certainly saw ups and downs during her tenure. She talks about her achievements with the company in an email she sent to employees and published to her Tumblr. Here it is in its entirety:
323 days ago, we announced that Verizon would be acquiring Yahoo’s operating business. Today, I can announce that the transaction has officially closed. While reaching this moment has certainly been a long road traveled, it marks the end of an era for Yahoo, as well as the beginning of a new chapter – it’s an emotional time for all of us. Given the inherent changes to my role, I’ll be leaving the company. However, I want all of you to know that I’m brimming with nostalgia, gratitude, and optimism.
It’s been my great honor and privilege to be a part of this team for the last 5 years. Together, we have rebuilt, reinvented, strengthened, and modernized our products, our business, and our company.
Looking back on my time at Yahoo, we have confronted seemingly insurmountable business challenges, along with many surprise twists and turns. I’ve seen our teams navigate these hurdles and mountains in ways that have not only made Yahoo a better company, but also made all of us far stronger. During these past 5 years, we’ve built products that delight our users, focused on our clients’ businesses, driven substantial value for our shareholders, and endeavored to make Yahoo the absolute best place to work. I want to take a moment to remind you of some of our many achievements together. They are remarkable, and we should all be very proud.
To our users: We have enhanced our products to be far more modern and engaging, especially for mobile
- We became 1 of 3 internet companies in the world with more than 1B monthly users
- We grew our monthly mobile users to more than 650M (one of the largest in the world) by launching and improving our products for mobile devices
- We dramatically focused our product strategy, dispensing 150+ subscale products and features
- We invested in search, building an offering that drew on strengths from Microsoft, Google and Yahoo, to provide dramatically improved search to our users and attract impactful partnerships, like Mozilla
- We fundamentally improved Yahoo Mail, completely rewriting much of the infrastructure to provide a far more flexible and reliable system, while creating a robust mobile offering. Mobile Mail recently surpassed desktop Mail in daily users, which shows the power of the product and the platform we reinvented
- We invested in our homepage and key verticals – news, sports, finance, and lifestyles – with each remaining as the go-to destinations in their categories. And, they have found new followings on mobile through the Yahoo app, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports, and Yahoo Fantasy. It’s hard to believe, but, in 2012, we didn’t have any of these 4 now-cornerstone apps on iOS or Android, we weren’t developing native apps, and we didn’t use these sought-after brands outside of desktop. Today, our users collectively spend an equivalent of 1,400 years on these products EVERY day.
- We bolstered our security defenses with cross-company initiatives like SSL, HTML5, Account Key, and HTTPS
- We committed to and invested in technical excellence in our architectures, reducing user-impacting incidents by more than half over the past 5 years
- We won 2 Apple Design Awards in 2013 and 2014, and put unified product design front and center with Fuji
To our advertisers: We completely rebuilt our advertising business, putting our clients first
- We rebuilt Yahoo’s ad tech around the fastest growing areas of digital advertising - mobile, video, native, and social (the Mavens)
- We delivered $2B+ in Mavens GAAP Revenue last year (42% of Yahoo’s revenue!) up 10x from $200M in 2012 and essentially zero in 2011
- Our GAAP mobile revenue last year was nearly $1.5B, making us one of the largest mobile ad platforms in the world
- We pioneered Yahoo Gemini native and search ads, completely from scratch, now generating more than $1B in revenue annually
- We acquired BrightRoll and Flurry to generate substantial new revenue streams in areas that aligned with our strategic growth areas of video and mobile
- We dramatically streamlined our ad product suite, improved the functions of our auctions and exchanges, and made our ad formats work better for our advertisers while enhancing the design of our products
To our shareholders: Our stock has hit a 17-year high, more than tripling since July 2012
- We oversaw the creation $43B in market capitalization and shareholder value. Our market cap has gone from $18B to $51B (increasing our valuation by $33B), while we returned nearly $10B in cash to shareholders.
- We bought back 27% of our outstanding shares at an average price of $28.64. This scale of buyback is nearly unprecedented in its size, efficiency and accretion.
- We negotiated the ability to retain an additional 122M Alibaba shares after the IPO. Today, those shares are worth an additional $9B beyond the IPO price.
- We generated more than $800M in cash by licensing and selling non-core patents and real estate
- We rebuilt Yahoo with the most efficient workforce and operated with the lowest cost structure in more than a decade
To our employees: We’ve helped bring to life the best of Yahoo’s culture
- We increased transparency, accountability, and innovation with FYI, Corporate Goals, PB&J, and Hackdays
- We expanded benefits including free food, extended maternity and paternity leave, and encouraged using Yahoo products by providing smartphones for our employees
- We prioritized leadership empowerment, diversity & inclusion, and giving back with Yahoo for Good
- We strategically reshaped our technical and sales talent, with a workforce that became 48% tech and 25% sales
As I look back on these achievements, I want to sincerely thank every single Yahoo employee, past and present, for your contributions both large and small. I’m tremendously grateful for all of the hard work and the many sacrifices you’ve made. We always endeavored to do the right thing for our users, advertisers, shareholders, and fellow Yahoos. This has required the most impressive displays of teamwork, innovation, and resilience I’ve ever seen, and working with you has made my time as CEO nothing short of a privilege.
Finally, I want to thank our founders, Filo and Jerry. Every entrepreneur’s wildest dream is to change the world with their ideas, and you’ve done just that. From day one, your tenacity and whimsy helped create one of the most special companies of all time – one that has employed more than 175,000 people, generated over $77B in revenue, and has informed, connected, and entertained a large portion of humanity. You’ve inspired all of us with your brilliance, values, and passion, and I will forever be in awe of you and I will forever be your biggest fan :-)