Yahoo has fired CEO Carol Bartz We know that Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock informed her of the news today because of the epic email she sent via iPad to all employees announcing that she had been fired.
The move ends a rocky nearly three-year tenure of failed initiatives and unmet expectations. Bartz, the strong-willed former CEO of Autodesk, was brought in to clean house and streamline operations at the company after it rejected Microsoft’s generous acquisition offer and decided to go it alone
Why Was Bartz Fired?When Bartz first took the job back in January 2009, we were skeptical of the move. Here’s what our Editor-in-Chief Adam Ostrow said at the time:
“First reaction: what exactly does Autodesk have to do with a consumer-focused Internet company like Yahoo? Bartz certainly sounds like she has a long history of running a big company – Autodesk has more than 7,000 employees and $2 billion in annual revenue – but what expertise and vision does she have that’s relevant to one of the world’s biggest Web companies, in desperate need of re-inventing itself?”
His words have turned out to be prophetic. Bartz had no clue how to reinvent a stagnant web company into a digital media powerhouse. Despite all of the tools at her disposal, her legacy will probably be defined by Yahoo’s ridiculous squabble with Alibaba.
Bartz may have been an effective manager, but didn’t have the vision needed to lead Yahoo. What Yahoo needed was a Steve Jobs. Unfortunately co-founder Jerry Yang failed at that task, which led to the hiring of Carol Bartz.
The Alibaba controversey isn’t what did Bartz in, though. It wasn’t her inability to provide direction for the company, either. Ultimately, the reason she is no longer CEO is simple: she failed to create shareholder value.
Yahoo’s share price was $11.59 the day before her appointment. When the markets closed on September 6, the stock was worth $12.74. That is an increase of less than 10%, with most of that value being derived from the skyrocketing value of its China assets. The entity known as Yahoo is worth less today than it was when Bartz took over as CEO.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re the founder or most-seasoned CEO on the planet. If you can’t increase shareholder value, you will not last long as CEO at a publicly traded company. Jerry Yang and Carol Bartz both learned this the hard way.
Bartz’s inability to move Yahoo’s stock price is why she is no longer at the helm of one the Internet’s most important and storied companies. Now it’s up to Jerry Yang and Roy Bostock to find a new CEO who can provide the vision and leadership the struggling company so desperately needs.
She was let go for failing to realize that Yahoo is an entertainment news source and media company as well as a very large portal of services for many people. One that needs focus, vision and a way to bring people together socially which would then allow it to rival facebook in the area of connections. Yahoo has a number of services and features which when properly bundled make a very strong case for success.
If the board wants to talk seriously, I’d be happy to chat with them.