September 7, 2011
Yahoo Fires CEO Bartz By Phone
Carol Bartz, Yahoo CEO, was released from her duties by Yahoo´s chairman of the board yesterday after 2-and-a-half years of lackluster leadership. Yahoo announced that Chief Financial Officer Tim Morse has been named interim CEO. The news was first reported by AllThingsD.
Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock, also a target of shareholder frustration, informed Bartz about the move over the phone. Bartz responded publicly with an email sent from her iPad to employees and obtained by Reuters, “I am very sad to tell you that I´ve just been fired over the phone,” Bartz wrote. “It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.”
Ben Schachter, a Macquarie Securities analyst, called the handling of Bartz´s departure “unseemly” and warned of more drama to come from Yahoo amid seemingly aimless focus and leadership, CNET reports.
Bartz took over the CEO role from Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang in January 2009 after a rough year that saw Microsoft launch an unsolicited bid for the company but later walk away after a $33-a-share offer was rejected by Yahoo. The stock has lost more than half its value since then, never recovering to the price Microsoft offered.
Bartz then focused her energies to making the internet pioneer faster, simpler, and more responsive to those who use its services. However the nature of the internet has proven too fast-moving for Yahoo to keep up with.
Bostock has not disclosed the board´s exact reasons for removing Bartz, but he noted the “very challenging macro-economic backdrop” in which she led the company and has spun the shake up with positive spin.
“The board sees enormous growth opportunities on which Yahoo can capitalize, and our primary objective is to leverage the company´s leadership and current business assets and platforms to execute against these opportunities,” Bostock said.
“We have talented teams and tremendous resources behind them and intend to return the company to a path of robust growth and industry-leading innovation. We are committed to exploring and evaluating possibilities and opportunities that will put Yahoo on a trajectory for growth and innovation and deliver value to shareholders.”
A new executive leadership council would help the interim CEO Morse in managing day-to-day operations as well as supporting “a comprehensive strategic review” to position the company for growth. Yahoo has not hired investment banking advisors, but was likely to meet with various firms in the coming weeks, according to a person close to the company.
“It´s hard to say what direction they are going to head. What is the next step for Yahoo? They went down the road of search, they went down the road of media, becoming a content company, they went down the road of advertising,” said YCMNet Advisors CEO Michael Yoshikami. “I´m not sure where they go right now. One wonders if this means that they might be ripe for a takeover,” AP reports.
In a Tuesday statement, Yahoo said it is undergoing a “comprehensive strategic review” in its latest effort to give investors a reason to buy its stock but didn´t offer details.
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