This week Yahoo held its annual shareholders meeting and, while the event appeared to be sparsely attended, there was much to talk about, such as the company’s sale. But in addition to that, several items were put up for a vote, including re-electing its board of directors. Normally that would seem rather straightforward, but shareholders clearly sent a message to chief executive Marissa Mayer: They’re not happy.
In a regulatory filing, Yahoo reported that while everyone it put up for election won approval, Mayer received the most votes against her candidacy. More than 554 million votes were cast in favor of her being on the board, but 104 million said no. To put it into context, approximately 18 percent of all the total “no” votes were cast against the company’s CEO. Shareholders still think she can be on the board, but their patience has run out.
Mayer also received the lowest number of votes for her re-election to the board. She received more than 554 million votes compared to second-lowest vote getter Jeffrey Smith, who received 564 million votes in favor of his candidacy.
A look at previous shareholder filings show that in 2015, the voting for Mayer’s seat on the board wasn’t so equivocal. In fact, she received just over 6 million no votes to 518 million votes in favor. And at the 2014 shareholder meeting, she received 3.4 million votes against while 635 million voted in support of her election.
It’s been about five years since Mayer assumed the helm of the struggling technology company. At the time there was much fanfare about her arrival, especially since some thought she could turn the company around. Yahoo’s performance seemed to start off well under her leadership, but eventually it resumed its old habits. Its financials were largely propped up by its stake in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan.
And as Yahoo trims itself down once again and gets itself ready for an acquisition, whether it’s from Verizon or private conglomerates, Mayer appears to be moving forward with her day, but shareholders are watching ever so closely — they’re clearly not happy.