By Emma Haslett Wednesday, 26 June 2013

'I'm Greek, I'm a dirty old man and you look attractive'

Yahoo chief executive Marissa Meyer faced shareholders for the first time yesterday. It wasn't an easy ride...

It's every female executive's worst nightmare: faced with explicit chauvinism in front of an audience, do you make an example of them or smile sweetly and pretend it didn't happen?

In the event, Yahoo chief executive Marissa Meyer - she of the 'no working from home' rule - took the high road by moving swiftly on after an investor stood up during her first shareholder meeting and said he was 'Greek, I'm a dirty old man and you look attractive'. Shudder.

But shareholders were still keen to know more about her plans for the company, with questions about dividends and employee morale both high on the agenda.

They also wanted to know how, with a 3,000-strong R&D department, Yahoo plans to compete with Google, which has 19,000.

'Never underestimate the power of a small group,' she countered. 'It always starts somewhere.' Not terribly illuminating.

Finally, some shareholders begged her to rescind that home-working rule - to which she was also decidedly vague.

'People are more productive in isolation, but they are more collaborative and innovative in a group setting,' she said. 'That's not to say [the ban] will always be the case, but that is the way it is today.'

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