Yahoo’s CEO Spent $70,000 Forcing Her Employees to Do a Weird Morale Boosting Exercise

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, 40, reportedly splurged a whopping $70,000 on a Wizard of Oz-themed photo shoot to raise morale for the struggling internet company.

Mayer organized the costume shoot last year and assigned characters from the classic 1939 musical to top Yahoo executives. The chief executive herself played the story’s protagonist, Dorothy, reported the Daily Mail. The photos have just recently surfaced.

The photo served as the centerpiece for Yahoo’s end-of-the-year costume party, according to Silicon Valley news Re/Code. One employee who took part in the photo shoot told Re/Code:

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“It was very embarrassing, but Marissa thought that it was the way to make employees in Silicon Valley happy. We really could not argue.”

The brow-raising price tag covered expenses for the photo shoot venue, Cavallo Point Lodge in Marin County, as well as for a photographer, shoot assistants, costumes and makeup.

A number of staff who were shot for the photo had left the company by the time the final portrait was unveiled. Among the executives in the photo are former development chief Jackie Reses as the Wicked Witch, communications head Jeff Bonforte as the Tin Man, product head Adam Cahan as the Scarecrow, CIO Laurie Mann as the Cowardly Lion, and Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman as the Wizard.

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The picture found its way on social media with the hashtag #NoPlaceLikeHome. The event also featured a performance by Janelle Monae. Mayer has been known to carry through on such idiosyncratic and flashy ideas. She once created an ice rink where she rode around on a mini ice resurfacer.

Yahoo recently announced a partnership with Google after numbers revealed a disappointing quarter for the pioneering internet company. Yahoo raked in a profit of $76 million during its third quarter compared to the $6.8 billion they pulled in a year ago.

Mayer, who is due to give birth to twins in December, has been finding ways to boost company morale in light of declining numbers. Her announcement on social media of an intended short maternity leave was met with harsh criticism earlier in September.

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