Pregnant and hired

July 20th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Fortune reports:

FORTUNE –, the Google (GOOG) executive who today was named Yahoo’s (YHOO) new chief executive, is pregnant.

Mayer told Fortune exclusively that her first child is due October 7. It’s a boy!

“He’s super-active,” Mayer told me in a phone call tonight, three hours after Yahoo announced her appointment. “He moves around a lot. My doctor says that he takes after his parents.”

Career-wise at least, Mayer, 37, has remained in one place for more than a decade. She was Google’s 20th employee and its first female engineer, ascending to her most recent post as vice president in charge of local and location services over a 13-year career.  …

Mayer first disclosed to the Yahoo board that she is pregnant in late June, in a meeting with Michael Wolf, a member of the board’s four-person CEO search committee. A meeting with the search committee followed, and then Mayer met with the full board last Wednesday. None of the Yahoo directors, she says, revealed any concern about hiring a pregnant chief executive. “They showed their evolved thinking,” says Mayer, who got the phone call last Thursday that she was the board’s choice to be CEO.

Excellent. Some people argue women don’t get hired for senior jobs, as people worry they will go off and have babies. There are probably a few people who think like that, so the fact the Yahoo Board hired a pregnant woman as their CEO is a great symbol of non-discrimination. They employed her, because they thought she was the best person for the job.

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33 Responses to “Pregnant and hired”

  1. berend (1,709 comments) says:

    Great, baby has a mom who is doing an 100 hour a week job. Another child sacrificed in the name of progress.

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  2. backster (2,171 comments) says:

    What’s her maternity leave entitlement?

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  3. Fost (102 comments) says:

    And that’s worse than having a mother with a 0 hour a week job, sucking off the government’s tit?

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  4. Lucia Maria (2,428 comments) says:

    She has no idea what a baby will do to her life.

    I went through that, though, at a younger age and a less high profile job.

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  5. TiggerNZ (2 comments) says:

    The Yahoo board will come to regret this decision.

    1. She has too little experience to be the CEO of a company this size with the type of challenges that Yahoo! is facing. At 37, no-one, no matter how talented, can have sufficient experience.

    2. CEOs in this type of position, especially fading once-bright stars like Yahoo!, need to work like galley slaves. 100+ hours per week. Total dedication, absolute commitment. No matter how talented, how is she going to do this at 100% intellectual, emotional and physical capacity whilst coping with the demands of a pregnancy?

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  6. David Garrett (7,272 comments) says:

    I am with berend on this one…if you want to have a baby, be prepared to take at least six months off. Children should not be condemned to a childhood of nannies and “caregivers”

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  7. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    That’s great. If she’s the best and if Yahoo wants to do this with their business then all power to them; their company, their decisions.

    I cannot however imagine the large NZ company that I work with having a CEO in this situation. Decision making would slow down. As would be the case with a majority of big NZ corporates I’d wager.

    I support the view that ‘the best person for the job should be hired’, but let’s not pretend that men and women are not different.

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  8. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    I just re-read the article. “evolved thinking”? Can you smell the wafting self-righteousness. Does that mean that a majority of company directors are stupid cavemen? Give me a break.

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  9. salt (133 comments) says:

    oh come now, berend and EWS – would you be thinking that about a male CEO who just announced his wife is pregnant? Don’t babies need their daddies too?

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  10. Urban Redneck (234 comments) says:

    Mayer is a HUGE leftist. She holds fund raisers for Obama and is one of his big West Coast bundlers.

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  11. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    I’m conflicted, she’s a yummy mummy.
    As the parent she (and her husband?) think google will help create the environment her child needs for it’s entry into this world.
    It is their decision to make, she has a history with the company and she already lives a lifestyle with them anyway.
    Time will tell.
    Lucia’s observation is sound though.

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  12. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    @ salt

    Of course babies need fathers. But males don’t get pregnant and breast-feed. Sorry if that offends anyone.

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  13. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    In America, we don’t have pussy initiatives like PPL, which means mothers HTFU, deliver their babies, leave the hospital, and get on with their lives. So there is never much of an issue with hiring a career-woman. In fact, that is what mothers have done since the dawn of time, until some pack of socialists decided that other people needed to pay them to sit around the house watching tv and lactating with post partum depression.

    It’s nice if a woman has a husband who can earn the money so that she can stay home after a birth. But there’s nothing wrong with having a career and going straight back to work either. What is wrong is expecting someone who didn’t contribute to the baby to pay for your leave.

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  14. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    I think it has been reported somewhere that she is planning on returning to work 2 weeks after the birth. That may have made a difference to the board’s thinking on hiring her.

    Had she planned to take a year off, then it might have made a different decision.

    I was reading an article last night on this is apparently having an impact, at least from anecdotal evidence, on hiring practices in Europe.

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  15. salt (133 comments) says:

    Sorry, EWS, I’m just not convinced that pregnancy and breastfeeding are necessarily going to impact on someone’s work, other than maybe taking a week or two off post-birth. Let’s not forget that this is obviously a highly driven and talented woman we’re talking about; and in terms of breastfeeding, she can probably have an attended creche for the baby at work. I don’t see how that has any more of an impact on her potential productivity than, say, smoking.

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  16. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Everyone is different – I have seen women return to work the DAY AFTER giving birth. Some women could commit to this; while it’s not for others. If anyone is working 100 hours a week, it’s likely to be a mother anyway.

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  17. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    good points mm
    Loads of the young parents i speak to acknowledge their sleeplessness :-)
    I’ve forgotten ours.

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  18. kowtow (8,469 comments) says:

    Equality is great ,this type of thing should be extended to all employment.

    The navies of the world would function just brilliantly taking on pregnant sailors, infantry obstacle courses could be modified so that pregnant mums could be carried over the hurdles and jet fighters could have bigger cockpits with extendable seat straps to accomodate the “extra passenger”.

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  19. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    @ salt

    Agreed, these are not “necessarily going to impact on someone’s work”. It depends on the role. I cannot imagine the CEO of Fonterra, Telecom, or Meridian Energy being able to do their job with these general constraints. How close have you worked with a senior executive team in a significant NZ company? Can you really imagine those people doing this? How would they do it, short of having a new-born in dawn-to-dusk 12-hour a day child-care. Sure, the husband could be a house-husband, but this is not a reality for most people. And thus it makes the Mayer situation a bit unreal.

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  20. salt (133 comments) says:

    @ EWS

    I would say that CEO of a significant company is an extraordinary position which, yes, does demand huge hours and extreme focus. But as CEO of a large company you also have the ability to employ people to mind your child; and also, should you want it, have the power to say that that child-minding will happen somewhere close to you.

    For “most people”, their jobs do not entail quite those same demands. They also don’t come with the same options – I’m not denying that many mothers of young children have to make difficult choices between family time and career. But I think we shouldn’t conflate the demands of a high-flying position with the lack of options available for those in lowlier positions.

    I won’t comment on your dismissal of the idea of house-husbands :)

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  21. mmmm (13 comments) says:

    I don’t know why “the CEO of Fonterra, Telecom, or Meridian Energy” wouldn’t be able to do their jobs if they were new mothers if the CEO of somewhere like YAHOO can. Let’s remember that in all likelihood she will have an at work childcare where she will still be able to spend time with her child and you haven’t even taken into account the level of care her husband will do as well as the best possible childcare that money can buy. In many countries woman have children and get on with their lives – it’s common for high level execs overseas to take max of two weeks off after childbirth and then be back in the office with support of their companies in the form of in house creches etc. She’s clearly talented and Yahoo thinks she is the right person for the job. Why is this a big deal?

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  22. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    Who is to say the husband won’t be looking after the child? And what is wrong with that?

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  23. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    @ Peter

    I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the husband raising the children. Three of my cousins were raised by their father after their mother died when they were very young and they’re all healthy functional young-adult/teens (though I’d note heavy input from aunts – there are some things I would suggest that men cannot easily teach/develop). The point I’m making is around pretending that child-rearing (especially immediately post-natal) has no effect of work-life – especially the workload of a CEO. AND, that anyone who questions this is someone ‘un-evolved’.

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  24. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    I’d also expect she’s on good dosh – so the concept of a full-time live-in nanny/wet nurse would seem reasonable.
    Half the job with babies is keeping on top of the meals / washing / cleaning / errands etc, so if you can afford to pay someone else to do that it makes the job easier.
    It’s still a massive undertaking and all power to her though, I hope she knows what she’s doing.

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  25. mmmm (13 comments) says:

    @ EWS

    Have you had a baby? The vast majority of the battle in those early days is washing/cleaning/meals etc which can easily be outsourced esp when you can afford it which she will be able to. Also some woman are far better at coping with having a small baby and working then others, and I would argue that looking at where she has gotten in her career that she will have highly developed coping mechanisms and again be able to outsource everything else for someone else to do.
    when I had my first child I intended to take a year off as I bought it to the whole thought process that having a young baby would be hard – ended up finding the best possible care for her and going back to work at 3 months when I realised that it was actually much easier than I thought it would be. And as a bonus my child is in a loving enriching environment when she is in care and when she is with me and my husband has quality time with us rather than being popped in front of the TV constantly. Quality over Quantity every time.

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  26. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    I think if she’s not a kiddy beater then she’s probably a fit mother. It’s uncanny how children thrive and survive if they are exposed to loving adults kept and free of major life interruptions such as divorce. And even then they’ll come good. A working mother is nothing. Your kid is on your mind all the time anyway.

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  27. Anthony (796 comments) says:

    Didn’t some recent research find that the lower the level of job, the more stressful it is – that certainly fits with my experiences too. Given that, a CEO should cope better with pregnancy and going back to work than women in most other jobs.

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  28. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    HMM, well perhaps we should say that Yahoo ain’t shown itself to be good at business decisions in the past.
    This just adds to that long list.

    Yahoo is suppossed to make money for its shareholders. It hasn’t and is close to being not needed anymore.
    Yahoo currently almost invisable in the search engine market place and will die.

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  29. Andrei (2,651 comments) says:

    Symptom of a culture that has lost its way and forgotten its priorities which are to raise the next generation

    This woman will have the resources to pay others to do what she should be doing which is not an option for the vast majority

    Silly old Cherie Blair was in on the act the other day claiming that women should not let child rearing interfere with their careers, vapid woman’s “let them eat cake” moment.

    And the old fruit Elton John was having a witter about how hard it is going to be that his manufactured son will not have a mother – the solution he is pondering is the manufacture of another to be his son’s companion in pain.

    Never mind Western culture is on the way out and deservedly so – the elites have squandered your birthrights with their selfish centered hedonism

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  30. berend (1,709 comments) says:

    salt: I actually agree with you on dad too. If dad is not around, that will become a huge issue. Dad can be less around, but if Dad is absent, it’s basically a single parent family. Just lookup the statistics on that one.

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  31. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    I agree with Lucia..she doesn’t know what is coming her way. She has that simple , glowing smile of first time pregnancy. I think there is truth in the theory that older women make better mothers but it is not always true..Some haven’t got a clue having spent mega previous hours in the office. The other serious drawback of late motherhood is having the ranting , screeching symptoms of menopause around young or early teenage children.. Men cannot understand this behaviour. It is a factor in some divorces so young children can hardly be expected to understand it.

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  32. wikiriwhis business (3,998 comments) says:

    youth orientated and Green thinking CEO’s . Simple as that

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  33. capitald (72 comments) says:

    I’ve found my new CEO crush…

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