Carol Bartz, the exact combination of seasoned technology executive and savvy leader, has ultimately been given the pink slip by Yahoo. But what did go wrong that threw Bartz out of a company, which was excited to hire her in January, 2009?
We are thrilled to have attracted such a world-class talent to Yahoo, Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock had said when Bartz took over as Yahoo CEO. The board is united in its view that her energetic and decisive leadership style, coupled with a proven track record of driving growth, operational excellence and shareholder value, is exactly what Yahoo needs to get back on a path toward achieving its full potential.
Analysts, at that point of time, considered that Yahoo had typically made the safest move by choosing an experienced and strong public company CEO. However, they also pointed out that Bartz lacked experience in advertising and the Web 2.0.
Now, after more than two years, Yahoo has ended up with a complete contradictory decision - the firing of Bartz. Although the situation around the exit is not yet clear enough, it's quite conceivable that Bartz didn't enjoy a rosy bed during her 30 months tenure at the company.
I am very sad to tell you that I've just been fired over the phone by Yahoo's Chairman of the Board, Bartz wrote in an email to staff.
It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward, she said.
According to sources, the Yahoo board, specifically Chairman Roy Bostock and Co-founder and Director Jerry Yang, informed Bartz on Tuesday about the big change. CFO Tim Morse, who has been named interim CEO, informed the company's senior staff about Bartz's departure and that a hunt for a permanent CEO would start soon, All Things D reported.
Bartz, 62, who was well-regarded for her term at Autodesk, did clear up the company and cut some costs. But her accomplishments were not what Yahoo needed. The continuous flow of talent out the company highlighted Bartz's lack of success, making it even more unlikely as time passed by.
Looking at Yahoo's recent financial results, it can easily be concluded that the company has been going through a real tough time. From its struggling advertising business to the mounting attrition rate among engineers, Yahoo is surrounded by a string hazards. The company's almost stopped product innovation cycle is just another proof of its fraught phase.
Following the 2008 economic slowdown, the online advertising industry bounced back, with Google, Facebook, and numerous Web startups keeping afloat. But in Yahoo's case, results continued to be subpar at best. The company's share price settled in after hours trade on Tuesday at $13.72, from a close of $12.91 on the Nasdaq, which is almost the same level when Bartz took over. In after hours trading, Yahoo's shares were up more than 5 percent.
Here are some of the key factors that knocked the wind out of Yahoo:
- Microsoft's win over Yahoo's search ad business, following the failed attempt to buy it.
- Competitors like Google and Facebook attracted big advertisers and outrun Yahoo. While Facebook now serves more display ads compared to Yahoo, Google is gradually closing in, Forbes reported.
- Is Yahoo a media company or a technology company? It seems that Yahoo itself couldn't decide that. Yahoo is a media company if it wants to be stagnant and mediocre. However, if it wants to grow, it has to be a tech company.
It's not that only Yahoo's board members are the only ones concerned; according to media reports, investors have pull[ed] out their spreadsheets about a variety of scenarios related to Yahoo, including taking it private or splitting it apart.
Now the question is, after Bartz's departure, what is Yahoo up to now?
Meanwhile, it would be interesting to see how the arch rivals benefit from the mess as Yahoo would be busy sorting out the hitch.