Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer has given birth to identical twin girls as questions circle around her future at the company. The 40-year-old, who is married to Silicon Valley investor Zachary Bogue, tweeted on Thursday: ‘Zack and I are excited to announce that our identical twin girls were born early this morning. Our whole family is doing great!’
Within minutes, she had responses from some of the industry’s highest profile figures, such as former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao and venture capitalist Chris Sacca, tweeting their congratulations. Her labor comes just days after fellow tech heavyweight Mark Zuckerberg wife gave birth to his first child, a girl named Maxima.
The pair have been the cornerstones of a debate about maternity and paternity leave, as Mayer plans to take just two weeks off – as she did when she joined Yahoo in 2012 – while Zuckerberg has set aside two months. And the happy news came at a tricky time for Mayer as whispers began circulating that investors wanted her out of the company she was brought in to revitalize. The company has suffered a 30 per cent share price drop.
On Wednesday, the company revealed it was ditching Mayer’s 10-month plan to spin off its stake in Chinese online retailer Alibaba. ‘With the recent turnover in top level executives, some have questioned whether the CEO’s position is stable.Indeed Mayer was forced to put out a statement just yesterday insisting she was ‘convinced’ the company was on the ‘right track’ despite the high-profile change of heart.
When she joined the company three years ago, Mayer took just two weeks off after delivering her son Macallister Bogue in September 2012. She has been married to and her husband Zack Bogue since 2009. ‘Since this is a unique time in Yahoo’s transformation, I plan to approach the pregnancy and delivery as I did with my son three years ago, taking limited time away and working throughout,’ Mayer wrote in a blog post in September. Nonetheless, the prospect of Mayer taking even a slight absence has not gone down well in the stock market.
The day she announced her maternity plans, Yahoo’s shares slumped 1.99 per cent. Yahoo’s Chairman Maynard Webb said Wednesday that the board had full confidence in chief executive Marissa Meyer, despite the company still struggling to build the value of its Internet operations. Asked if the board retains complete confidence in Mayer after her three years at the helm, Webb replied: ‘Absolutely. I’ve had the distinct pleasure of running (it) with her now for three years, and I’ve never met anybody that works harder, that’s smarter, and cares more.’ ‘So we want to help her return this great company to an iconic place where it belongs.’
Mayer’s decision to take just two weeks off has also been called into question. Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said he will take two months of paternity leave after his daughter’s birth, a strong statement from one of the busiest and most powerful U.S. executives on the importance of family time. Silicon Valley technology firms have rushed to extend parental leave allowances and other benefits in an attempt to recruit and retain talent, but many workers do not take advantage for fear of falling behind at work or missing out on promotions.
Facebook, the world’s biggest online social network, allows its U.S. employees to take up to four months of paid maternity or paternity leave, which can be used all at once or throughout the first year of their child’s life, a policy which is generous by U.S. standards. Comparatively, Google gives 18 weeks’ maternity leave and 12 weeks’ paternity, Microsoft gives new parents 12 weeks off, and Netflix recently announced that employees can take one whole year.