Quoted: Carly Fiorina talks Marissa Mayer and other female execs under the microscope

“Yahoo is a big company in the midst of yet another turnaround attempt. Attention will be paid to their CEO. Is the attention hotter, more critical, because she’s a woman? Probably.”

Carly Fiorina, fired former CEO of Hewlett-Packard — who knows a thing or two about being the subject of attention and criticism — on Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and the brouhaha over the new telecommuting ban at the company. (See Quoted: Yahoo: No more working from home for you.) Is the issue getting so much attention because it seems to be a backward step in the age of technological advances that make it easier to work from home when needed,  and amid the blurring of work and home life? Or is it  just more scrutiny of a top female executive already famous for taking a two-week maternity leave? (See Quoted: on Marissa Mayer as yes, Yahoo’s female CEO.) Some deem the controversy excessive, pointing out that for another former Silicon Valley female CEO (also of Yahoo), Carol Bartz, the issue that some fixated on was her potty mouth. (See Year in review: Quotables.) The Merc’s Mike Cassidy says that this controversy, as well as that surrounding Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg‘s upcoming book about women in the workplace, “Lean In,” is about class inequality: “Both are filthy rich,” and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that Mayer had a nursery built next to her office. Maureen Dowd of  the New York Times writes that on telecommuting, Mayer “should … be sympathetic to the very different situation of women — and men — struggling without luxurious layers of help.”


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  • Karen

    My husband has the good fortune to work for a company where managers can approve individual employees to work from home on an as-needed basis. Recently he took a whole week of working from home (actually a remote area where we have a getaway cabin) to take care of various tasks that desperately needed to be done. He’d work from 8 am to 10 or 11 am, take care of stuff that needed to be done during the day, and work again from 4 or 5 pm until midnight or so. He got the stuff done that needed doing, both at home and at work, and was always available by phone during the day. I don’t see why more employers don’t appreciate such a situation.

  • Mark Wialbut

    Poor poor Carly, she still doesn’t get it. She wasn’t criticized because she was a woman, she was criticized for being so bad at her job. She took a company known for technical innovation, integrity, and being a great place to work to a company that assembled computers, and printers, made profits from ink and a run of the mill place to work. To top if off she got rich doing it.

    As for Marissa Mayer, it easy for her to be a mother and a CEO, after all she’s got “people” to do her domestic bidding and a nursery for her baby at the office. Maybe she should live in her workers shoes for a while and see how difficult it is to balance home and work when work is something you commute to. Short sighted and draconian if ask me.

  • Sam

    “Short sighted and draconian if ask me.”

    Ms. Mayer has to do something draconian because of the inept previous Yahoo CEO’s and Chairmen, because there has been no enlightened leader at Yahoo! since inception.

    Starting with Koogle!

  • peter rackov

    go go marissa, you rock! yahoo portal re-design, a great job! telecommuting no go, a brilliant move! carly, hush……

  • Randy Martinez

    Ms. Mayer really blew this one badly, so badly that if I were on her BOD, I would really wonder what people skills she has. On her side, I believe she realizes Yahoo has a problem in this area, probably with too many people telecommuting. I know some people that work there and they told me the company does have a lot of people who telecommute. I also know that there are a lot of Yahoo folks who live in the Central Valley who are now going to have to make that awful commute and still stay fresh and strong at work, yet wanting to leave to be able to pick u their kids. The company lost control of the program, but instead of looking carefully at the program, she should have done a more thorough in-depth review beforehand before s canning the whole thing. This whole thing about the interaction between employees leading to innovation is horse manure. This was the old Tom Peters nonsense. Friends in the Valley tell me his philosophy is enjoying a renaissance.

  • Randy Martinez

    As to Ms. Sandburg, I am going to explain her by saying that men are not women’s problems in the workplace. The fact is that women are women’s problem. You have yet another woman telling other women what is wrong with them and why they are not getting ahead in the workplace….by not working hard enough and not doing what she believes are the right projects. What ignorance. What women do in the workplace is actively sabotage other women’s process. We have been brought up with this myth, this lie…that women work better together, work truth to power, which is a brutal lie. Ms. Mayer is using this whole thing not as a statement on the realities of telecommuting, but as a way to move people out of the company. Yahoo needed a layoff for years. She knows this will drive out thousands out who need that work balance. Telecommuters often live farther away then others. They will not be able to make that commute. This is a completely dishonest move and again shows that when women get into positions of power, they turn into men. Sorry ladies…you don’t want to hear it but its the truth.