Maggie Shiels

Yahoo's silent Chief

  • Maggie Shiels
  • 28 Jan 09, 12:29 GMT

Only eight days into the job as chief executive officer of Yahoo, and Carol Bartz had the fairly thankless task of announcing the company's quarterly results for the end of 2008 amid one of the worst economic periods for years.

Jerry Yang, Carol BartzJoining her was chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen who played his part throughout, crunching the numbers. The other person along for the earnings announcement ride was co-founder, ex-ceo and now Chief Yahoo, Jerry Yang. But here's the thing, during the roughly hour long presentation and question and answer session, Mr Yang said nada.

It seemed rather strange that his presence was announced not once but twice, yet he said nothing - and none of the analysts called on him to speak. Neither did Ms Bartz, though she certainly referred to him in more oblique ways.

From the get-go Ms Bartz made it clear that she has her work cut out after taking over from Mr Yang. "There are fundamental issues that need to be addressed," she said, "sharpening strategic focus, increasing the pace of decision making and continuing to streamline the business."

For those not paying attention Ms Bartz added: "We need to bring more clarity to our strategy, speed innovation and be maniacally focused on users ... These things are absolutely addressable."

Forgive me if I am wrong, but was she hinting every so slightly that these were all areas the company had not excelled in under Mr Yang's stewardship and she is going to have to clean up his mess?

Well, just in case anyone was labouring under a misapprehension, Ms Bartz later stated: "I did mention it twice that this organisation is very complex. It is hard for people to get speedy answers and to make decisions. The good news is that's easy to fix. I happen to be pretty good at that sort of stuff."

I could imagine Mr Yang staring hard at his hands or some speck of dust throughout these various exchanges. But whatever he felt, he kept his own counsel and said nothing. For all intents and purposes, he might as well not have been there.

On other matters, Ms Bartz tackled the other elephant in the room - namely whether Yahoo is going to sell its search business to Microsoft.

While on the one hand she said "I didn't come here to sell the company", she also said "everything is on the table." And that might include a possible deal with AOL.

But if anyone is thinking of low-balling Ms Bartz, or trying to get her to sign a quick deal for quick bucks, she had this message: "This is not a company that needs to be pulled apart and left for the chickens. That's my Wisconsin coming through!"


  • Comment number 1.

    Jerry Yang should just leave and spend some time travelling, surfing or whatever.
    I know he founded Yahoo, that's why he should now say: "I'm going out, I may be some time."
    It'd be better for him too; it's time to move on.

    Yahoo has some good things going for it; It's portal is much better looking than MSN, Yahoo mail is better than Hotmail (OK, both of those don't make much money), so there's still some potential there.

  • Comment number 2.

    "Mr Yang said nada." Nothing ?

    "From the get-go.." Do you mean 'start' ?

    "speed innovation " Is there an 'up' missing here ?

    "elephant in the room.." Dearie, dearie me..

    "But if anyone is thinking of low-balling Ms Bartz.." One might if one had a clue what this actually meant.

    Speak English, woman, not this fatuous drivel - is it supposed to make us think you know what you are talking about ?

    David Brent would be proud of you...

  • Comment number 3.

    Perhaps David Brent would be proud, but George Bush wouldn' least not yet.

    Someone needs to dis-un-occupy the space of malapropism that has been rendered empty since the big O took over the mic at the white house.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    @lordBeddWhatsit It's a blog, it has a more casual approach and therefore language. I understood every single word, where have you been for the last 20 years? Deal with it.

  • Comment number 6.

    Blimey, within days of Carol Bartz taking the helm at Yahoo, Google itself is already labelling it's own website as one which could harm your PC and refusing to link to it. Coincidence? Obviously not but I'm now actually having to use Yahoo.

    Congratulations all round then!


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