As Yahoo slashes its workforce, is it time for chief executive Marissa Mayer to step down?

Has Marissa Mayer done all she can? (Source: Getty)

George Spencer, chief executive of Rentify, says Yes.

Marissa Mayer was brought in to Yahoo for her product expertise, having worked in early engineering and VP roles on the majority of Google’s most successful products. Her vision was to reinvigorate the company’s culture and build out a suite of world class applications and products harking back to Yahoo’s glory days. The problem she has faced is simple: top engineering talent does not want to go to Yahoo, which has long been considered a graveyard for failed acquisitions (Flickr, Delicious, Upcoming, et al), or blighted by its bizarre attempts at gaining street cred (appointing an 18 year-old as a product manager). Mayer is by all accounts a talented and able product-focused executive, but is working in a corporation which has no chance of returning to its former glory as an internet pioneer. She should resign and let someone else dismantle it. If she couldn’t fix Yahoo, it’s unlikely anyone else can, and her best years are ahead of her.

Suranga Chandratillake, general partner at Balderton Capital, says No.

Manoeuvring a ship as large as Yahoo is never easy, and Marissa Mayer has shown considerable progress and promise. The traditional advertising business was always going to decline, and it is impossible to know whether it would have done so faster or slower with or without her. What we can do is look at her track record in taking big, audacious product bets, and transforming internal culture root and branch. Those changes are never easy and always take longer than shareholders would like, but believing another chief executive could have affected faster change with less risk is fantasising. Furthermore, if Mayer goes, she will be replaced by a bean-counter who will strip the company bare at fire sale prices, destroying one of the most iconic internet companies on the planet. Yahoo may have fallen on hard times and we may wish Mayer had turned the company around already, but now is not the time to play at being a mediocre armchair coach.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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