First we heard about this problem from a source close to one of Yahoo’s top executives. Then we heard it from an anonymous tipster claiming to be a Yahoo employee. And now, we’ve heard it from a first-hand source who has actually witnessed it happen.
Marissa Mayer has a problem, and it is this: She is routinely late for meetings with the Yahoo executives who report to her.
Sometimes Mayer is a few minutes late.
Sometimes she’s an hour late.
Sometimes it’s more.
One rumor we heard is that during CES, Mayer “blew off” a one-on-one meeting with the CEO of Unilever, one of Yahoo’s most important clients.
Mayer has a weird history of seeming to not respect other people’s valuable time.
Back when she was a young executive engineer at Google, Mayer used to keep “office hours,” and tell anyone who wanted to meet with her to visit then.
A source who worked with her then says, “everybody had to publicly sit outside her office and she would see people in five minute increments. She would make VPs at Google wait for her.”
“It’s like you’ve got to be kidding.”
Earlier this month, we published an angry email from someone who described himself as a Yahoo employee.
“There has not been a single meeting or event here that since she has taken the helm, she arrives on time, not one,” this person wrote.
“The amount of wasted time and anger building up from her lack of caring or understanding that it isn’t just her time that matters is astounding. She is routinely over an hour late for things.”
Later, we showed that part of the email to someone we know who has had several meetings with Mayer (and is a fan of her work at Yahoo).
He said: “Yep, that complaint is fair.”
So what gives?
Over on Psychology Today, noted author Alfie Kohn has some theories one why some people are always late.
This one seems most applicable to Mayer, regarded as someone who will work crazy hard on a project at all hours of the day:
“They have an idea of what time it is but they just don’t stop what they’re doing in light of what the clock is telling them. (Is it that they won’t stop or can’t stop? It’s hard to know whether this is a conscious choice and thus whether they’re truly responsible.)”
Another source who worked with Mayer for years and is familiar with her lateness problems has another theory: It’s a bad habit she picked up from Google, where “pretty much all management” has a lateness problem.
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