Yahoo: new boss, and (almost) everyone’s happy!

January 14, 2009

We’ve had two months to ruminate, speculate and analyze about who will take over as Yahoo chief executive after co-founder Jerry Yang who decided 18 months in the hotseat was enough for him.

Carol Bartz, former chief executive of Autodesk, was appointed CEO on Tuesday after her name had been floated “on sources” a few days earlier in various reports.

Yahoo shares were flat on Wednesday morning and most Wall Street analysts viewed the appointment as a positive as it clears the way for Yahoo to do some sort of merger/outsourcing deal with Microsoft.

Bartz, a director at Cisco, also got a glowing endorsement from Cisco chief John Chambers, according to the New York Times:

“She’s the best player in the draft,” said John Chambers, the chief executive of Cisco Systems, where Ms. Bartz has served as a board member since 1996. Mr. Chambers said Ms. Bartz often challenged him on strategic decisions, like mergers and acquisitions, to make sure they had been thought through well. And Ms. Bartz is not afraid to speak her mind, he said.

“You always know where she stands,” Mr. Chambers said. “You may not always like it.”

But more importantly what does the blogosphere think of Bartz?

From AllThings Digital:

Yahoo, “frankly, could use a little management.” Uttering those words Tuesday afternoon during a conference call to discuss her appointment as CEO of Yahoo (YHOO), Carol Bartz ushered in a new era at the company.

Known for occasionally opening Autodesk executive staff meetings with a “Tell me why I shouldn’t fire the whole lot of you,” she’s no milquetoast. She’s a cancer survivor. And she’s the person who rebuilt Autodesk, after putting down a rebellion of programmers bent on undermining her.


Bartz is a capable manager. She led Autodesk for 14 years between 1992 and 2006, keeping it from the PC software graveyard by focusing on CAD software for architects and builders. Autodesk, however, is an old-school software company. It is not exactly a great training ground for running an online advertising business attached to the most popular destinations on the Web. And as far as applications go, they are all Web apps and Yahoo gives them away for free. Bartz is most definitely an ally of founder and outgoing CEO Jerry Yang. They both sit on Cisco’s board. But it gets better. She also sits on Intel’s board with [outgoing] Yahoo president Susan Decker. In other words, she is has close ties with existing management. (Decker, though, wanted the CEO job as well).

Silicon Alley Insider:

The more we learn about Yahoo’s new CEO Carol Bartz, the more we like. Based on anecdotes we’ve heard from Valley execs and Autodesk investors, Carol’s own introduction on yesterday’s conference call, and stories in the press, she appears to have exactly the philosophy that Yahoo needs right now.

Carol’s biggest weakness is still a lack of experience in the consumer Internet business. But if she gives the job 100% of her attention, she’ll get up to speed fast.

Keep an eye on:

  • EchoStar welcomes U.S. Patent Office decision to rexamine patent infringement claim involving TiVo’s software (Reuters).
  • AT&T Wireless upsets some customers by sending mass text messages for American Idol, which it sponsors (New York Times)
  • A task force created by 49 state attorneys general finds that the online threat to children is overblown (New York Times)

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