Embattled search giant Yahoo named respected Silicon Valley veteran Carol Bartz to replace co-founder Jerry Yang as its CEO, but industry observers question her readiness to run an internet-based business.
The former chief executive and executive chairman of design-software maker Autodesk, Bratz brings in considerable experience running a technology company.
Analysts complimented for her organizational and management skills, customer orientation and comprehension of the challenges in the industry. But on the other hand, some analysts on Wall Street worried that she apparently lacks professional experience in Internet companies and online advertising, as well as media industry experience.
Bernstein Research analyst Jeffrey Lindsay, while acknowledging that she was a good CEO at Autodesk, questions whether she's the right choice for Yahoo.
Ms. Bartz is a safe but generally uninspiring choice, he says.
She has no consumer or advertising background Lindsay explained, noting that Autodesk specialized in selling computer-aided design software to business customers. Bratz also has no direct international management experience and no M&A experience, a key driver for Internet based firms, he contended.
Based upon the ramp-up times for AOL's many changes of CEO, it will likely take months for her to learn the Internet business and how Yahoo! actually works and before she can develop an effective new strategy.
In November, Yang announced that he would be stepping down as chief executive, following a troubled tenure of little more than a year that included an unsolicited takeover bid from rival Microsoft, and losing search share to Google.
During a conference call with analysts, Bartz said her focus will be on turning this company around.
I know it will be challenging, she acknowledged. I wouldn't have taken the job if I didn't believe there wasn't a huge opportunity here.
Her arrival could mark the end of resistance to acquisition however.
We view Ms. Bartz's appointment as clearing of the last hurdle before Microsoft could submit a possible search deal proposal to Yahoo, according to analyst Sandeep Aggarwal of Colins Stewart.
Bartz previously held positions at Sun Microsystems and at Digital Equipment Corporation and 3M Corporation. She was also appointed to President Bush's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.