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WTF: Is Marissa Mayer Really on the Shortlist to Take Over Uber?

By NexChange
Capital Markets

If you’re a once-hot company that is going through a serious rough patch – financially or otherwise – there are a lot of A-List names in the C-Suite universe that you probably want leading a corporate turnaround.

But one of these names would not seem to be Marissa Mayer, who recently concluded an unsuccessful five-year run as the high-profile CEO of Yahoo.

And yet, here we are: Mayer is supposedly on the shortlist of candidates to replace Travis Kalanick as CEO of Uber, according to the New York Times. Kalanick resigned last month from the ride-sharing company he co-founded following a “shareholder revolt.”

Per the Times:

For now, Uber’s executive search committee, which includes five members of its board, has kept the lid tight on the list of candidates. After a torrent of leaks before Mr. Kalanick’s departure, two of the people familiar with the search said there has been a renewed effort to keep quiet.

Among those up for consideration have been Susan Wojcicki, who leads YouTube. Others include Adam Bain, Twitter’s former chief operating officer; David Cush, a former chief executive at Virgin America; the former Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer; and Thomas Staggs, a former chief operating officer at Disney, according to three other people familiar with the search. It was unclear what level of interest, if any, these executives had expressed in the Uber job.

So let’s get to why Mayer could make sense as the right person to lead Uber: As the highest-valued private company in the world, Uber’s troubles are certainly not financial, and Mayer would not be tasked with bolstering Uber’s bottom line, which she failed to do at Yahoo. Instead, Uber is dealing with serious internal and public relations turmoil amid damaging claims of rampant sexual harassment.

So bringing in a woman to lead a company plagued by a “frat boy culture” would make a lot of sense, especially as it moves toward its eventual IPO. However, is Mayer really the woman for the job?

Her tenure at Yahoo was an unqualified failure, beset by bad acquisitions and data breaches that dug the company further into a hole. In other words, Mayer is obviously a smart, successful woman, but she proved at Yahoo that she was not ready to lead a company.

Why should we expect things would be different at Uber?

Photo: JD Lasica

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