Statement of Intent?


Today Marssia Mayer, the Yahoo CEO engaged in a company ‘turnaround’, announced to the world she was pregnant.  This isn’t news in itself (although best wishes to Marissa and the family, of course)!  What really made the news was the intent to return to the Yahoo offices shortly after the baby twins arrival.  Interesting.

Crucially, would there be a similar amount of media coverage and speculation about parental leave if a male CEO announced he was expecting twins?  this wasn’t even a topic when Mark Zuckerberg recently announced he and his wife are expecting (congratulations too)!

This can be quite a controversial sbject to write about especially as I am a male and maybe I don’t have the jurisdiction to comment.

I suppose my question is does the fact a high profile CEO announces she is coming back to work soon after giving birth set a precedent for other new parents in the office to do the same and therefore undermine materinty and parental leave?

One hopes not, we’re not in the dark ages.  Plus, its far easer to remain connected for many (not all) when at home due to the wonders of technology.  I do understand that as a high profile CEO (or for any member of an executive team) their input may be needed regularly and shareholders maybe won’t accept so much time away (don’t get me started)!  The problem is I can’t see how it doesn’t set a precedent despite knowing the pressures from the shareholders etc that any CEO must fcae.

Maybe expectations in the US are different to the UK.  In this case maybe the Mayers and other CEO’s can afford and chose to employ some help (nanny, chef, drivers etc..) which the great and the good like me and probably most of you reading this cannot afford (no offence).

The other interesting point about maternity and paternal leave is that men are expected to work and not take time off.  I think this is very slowly changing but even then it’s a choice the parents must make.  What about single parents?

Surely, the answer lies with technology.  I feel I could work from anywhere.  Not all of the time, but often I am out of the office and I manage to connect and beaver away at whatever I am doing.  I am sure many people are the same.  If true, parental leave needs to be re-considered and re-factored into what I’d call flexible working.

Easier said than done but my reasoning is that if one invests in people and makes their lives easier, they’ll stay with you and do their best work for you.  So whilst you might have cost to begin with, because your team are so engaged they’ll take the business to a much higher plain than would have otherwise been achieved.  In doing so more opportunity is created from which all will benefit.

That must be a good thing.  Last but not least, again, best wishes to the Mayers!


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