“You are doing important work. Please don’t stop.” That’s new Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, in her first memo to employees Thursday. Sure, that might sound like an odd message for a company that has lost half its stock value over the past seven years. But if you’ve been following the years-long Yahoo! drama, you know that it’s not unusual for the company’s leaders to tell employees that they should keep on truckin’:
“(Staying) true to who we are has helped us pull through the recent uncertainty we’ve faced, and will continue to be an asset as we move ahead,” cofounder Jerry Yang wrote to employees in 2008. In a joint 2011 email, Yang, cofounder David Filo and Chairman Roy Bostock told employees, “You are instrumental to the success of our business — we can’t do it without you.”
Of course, Yang and his fellow Yahexcutives most likely knew they weren’t just writing to their staff. It’s become commonplace for Yahoo! memos to be leaked. Mayer’s memo – marked “Privileged and confidential” – was out and about on the web by the end of the day. These leaked memos and emails provide an interesting look at the business behind what remains one of the web’s most popular destinations, which nonetheless has seen decreasing revenue and an accompanying revolving door in the executive ranks. Here are 10 memorable quotes from that correspondence, listed chronologically:
1. “…we’ve identified many areas that we all feel we can improve upon. our productivity efforts, based in part on what we heard from you, will involve initiatives such as streamlining our organizational structure through reducing layers and increasing spans of control, and eliminating redundancies”
–Yahoo! cofounder and then-CEO Jerry Yang, announcing layoffs, October 2008
2. “…we believe the time is now right to transition to a new ceo who can take the company to the next level,” Yang, stepping down as CEO, November 2008
3. “(From) the beginning of this process, our independent board and leadership team have maintained that microsoft’s offer undervalues the company, and we’re pleased that many of our shareholders agreed with us”
–Jerry Yang, after Microsoft withdrew its offer to acquire Yahoo!, May 2008.
4. “I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board”
–former CEO Carol Bartz on her firing, September 2011.
5. “…they are fielding inquiries from multiple parties that have already expressed interest in a number of potential options”
–Yang, announcing that the company was for sale, September 2011.
6. “It’s time for Yahoo! to move forward, and fast,”
–New CEO Scott Thompson, April 2012
7. ” [W]e were…informed by Stonehill College that Mr. Thompson did indeed graduate with a degree in accounting only. Furthermore, Stonehill College informed us that it did not begin awarding computer science degrees until 1983 — four years after Mr. Thompson graduated.”
–Shareholder Dan Loeb, questioning Thompson’s credentials in a letter to the Yahoo! board, May, 2012.
8. “I’m doing what I hope all of you are doing — staying focused on our customers, our shareholders, our team and moving Yahoo! forward, fast”
–Thompson, responding to the controversy over his credentials, May 2012.
9. “..I want you to know how deeply I regret how this issue has affected the company and all of you. We have all been working very hard to move the company forward, and this has had the opposite effect”
–Thompson, apologizing to employees for the controversy over his credentials, May 2012
10. “Your last day of work with the Company and your employment termination date was May 12, 2012”
–Yahoo separation agreement with Thompson, May 2012.