Embattled Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer defends her tenure

When Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was named to head the Internet media company in 2012, Vanity Fair dubbed her a "geek goddess." Now, she is struggling to keep her job amidst complaints from activist investors and others that her tenure has failed to live up to its initial promise.

In an interview on "The Charlie Rose Show", the 40-year-old executive, who rarely speaks to the press, argued that more time was needed for her turnaround strategy to work. She has sought growth through acquisitions including Yahoo's $1.1 billion purchase of the Tumblr blogging platform in 2013 which the company recently wrote down.

"I am still very optimistic about Tumblr," Mayer said.

Mayer also pointed to the growth in Yahoo's mobile business as an indication of the company's progress, noting that the number of engineers dedicated to the business has soared from 50 to 500. Yahoo now has "one of the biggest app development shops in the world," she said.

The company, though, is in cost-cutting mode. It last month said it was considering strategic alternatives including a sale of the company and slashed about 15 percent of its workforce.

Rose, also the co-host of "CBS Morning News" where the interview was also broadcast, pressed Mayer on calls for her ouster from activist investors. She tried to strike an optimistic tone in response, saying, "I would love to be running Yahoo" a year from now.

Should Mayer be able to sell Yahoo to potential buyers said to include Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI), Verizon (VZ), News Corp (NWS.A) and private equity firm TPG, she would receive a compensation package valued at about $43 million. Activists, though, are demanding her immediate departure, noting that she has failed to grow Yahoo's core Internet advertising business.

Though shares of the company have doubled under her watch, analysts have noted that was because of investors' enthusiasm for Yahoo's interest in the Chinese Internet company Alibaba (BABA). Ever since Yahoo called off plans to spin off its Alibaba stake in December, and Yahoo's stock price has barely budged ever since.

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    Jonathan Berr is an award-winning journalist and podcaster based in New Jersey whose main focus is on business and economic issues.