Yahoo's Mayer 'apologized' for being late to advertiser dinner

CEO Marissa Mayer reportedly overslept and arrived two hours late for the event. Her late appearance apparently upset attendees, including the CEO of one of the world's four largest ad firms.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Screenshot by CNET

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer says she apologized to attendees at a major advertiser event in Cannes, France, last week after oversleeping and arriving late to the important dinner.

"I think the dinner is unfortunate how much attention it's gotten," Mayer told Bloomberg in an interview published Wednesday. "I was late. I apologized to IPG at the time and in no way meant for it to be a slight to them."

Mayer was scheduled to attend a private dinner held by IPG, or Interpublic Group, one of the "big four" ad firms in the world. The event, which was attended by some of the biggest ad executives in the world, as well as marketers at other major Web brands, was Mayer's best opportunity to rub shoulders with the people who ultimately pay her to run ads on her company's network of sites. Although Mayer was able to make the dinner, she arrived two hours late after oversleeping.

The late arrival was viewed as a snub by some at IPG, Bloomberg reported, citing people who were in attendance. Michael Roth, CEO of IPG, left before Mayer arrived, creating a missed opportunity for Yahoo.

Since Mayer took the reins of Yahoo in July 2012, investors have stood behind Mayer as she has tried to turn the Web giant back into a money-making machine. Mayer has been actively acquiring companies since her tenure and has improved Yahoo's reach, which should only help to attract advertisers. That she was late, however, was viewed as a major blunder on Wall Street. Yahoo's shares are down 9 percent since the news broke.

Mayer had a different take on the entire Cannes visit in her interview with Bloomberg. While she acknowledged that she felt "really badly" about being late, she pointed out that Yahoo had over 200 meetings in Cannes with different advertisers, adding that she felt "like our ad story is really resonating and I'm really quite happy with it."

Some across the Web have thrown cold water on the dinner snub, saying that it won't amount to anything for Yahoo's bottom line. The next several quarters of Yahoo revenue figures will be the final arbiter.

CNET has contacted Yahoo for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.

Yahoo shares are down 1 cent to $33.47 in pre-market trading on Wednesday.