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Yahoo Will Get New CEO – Carol Bartz – Good Choice – Lets See Some Bold Moves January 13, 2009

Posted by John in social media, Technology.
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2 comments

Yahoo Inc. is expected to announce that Carol Bartz, former chief executive of software company Autodesk Inc., has accepted an offer to become the Internet company’s next CEO, according to people familiar with the situation.  Boomtown’s Kara Swisher was the first to break this and now it looks like Kara had her ear to the ground in the right spots.

Hiring an operational Silicon Valley insider is a good move for Yahoo.  What Carol needs to do is filter the signal from the noise internally at Yahoo. I’m sure everyone there is jockying for position.  Carol needs to hire from the outside and bring in some ‘mavericks’ to get Yahoo relevant again in both the product side and the corporate side.  She has a big job ahead of her.  I think the thing that no one is talking about is that she makes a great partner to Jerry Yang who obviously has the desire to make Yahoo great again.

From WSJ today. Ms. Bartz, 60 years old, will face a number of challenges as she tries to turn around Yahoo’s flagging performance and stock price. Some investors have been lobbying for a break-up of the Internet giant, for instance. Yahoo faces tough competition from Internet rivals such as Google Inc.

Ms. Bartz still serves as executive chairman of Autodesk, of San Rafael, Calif., which she ran as chief executive from 1992 to 2006. Autodesk is around half the size of Yahoo, with approximately 7,000 employees world-wide.

Ms. Bartz was also an executive at Sun Microsystems Inc. and she sits on the board of Cisco Systems Inc., with Mr Yang. She is also a member of the Intel Corp. board with Yahoo President Susan Decker, who was also interviewing for the CEO job.

In afternoon trading, Yahoo’s stock fell 2% to $11.96 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The stock remains well below its 52-week high of $30.25.

Ms. Bartz’s appointment will likely reopen questions of Yahoo’s strategic direction, potentially clearing the path for the company to restart negotiations with Microsoft over a sale of its search business. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who tried and failed to buy Yahoo last year, has publicly said in the past few weeks that a search deal with Yahoo should be made when there is a management transition at both companies. Microsoft late last year hired a Yahoo search executive Qi Lu to lead its Internet business.

Ms. Bartz and Yahoo’s board will also have to turn to other ways to right the business, which is being hurt further by the down economy. That could include striking a deal with another partner like Time Warner Inc.’s AOL or divesting of smaller business units.

With these major strategic questions in mind, Yahoo’s board focused its CEO search on experienced executives with deal and operating experience, according to people familiar with the search. Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock led an informal committee of directors in the search; the group also included Frank Biondi, the former chief executive of Viacom Inc. Directors quickly zeroed in on a short-list of external candidates, such as former Vodafone Group PLC Chief Executive Arun Sarin, among others.

Yang Is Forced Out At Yahoo – No Question About It November 18, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
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4 comments

Update: Om Malik has a post on what Jerry Yang should do next.

Mike Arrington has the post up with a release from Yahoo. I think that founder should stay and be supported. Me being the arbiter of all things scoops in tech has to give a shout out goes to Kara Swisher first broke the story here. Then pulls out the magic again by getting the internal memo (see below).

There is no question in my mind that Jerry Yang was forced out of town on a “rail”. I hate to see this, but the mob got him. All that value flushed down the market toilet. Personally, I was cheering for Jerry and hoped he could put it together. Hopefully this could give him some cover. Maybe the search will take a long time.

Remember that Steve Jobs was supposed to be the interim APPLE CEO.

Here is the release from Yahoo

The press release:

Yahoo! Conducting Search for New CEO
Co-Founder Jerry Yang to Step Down Following Appointment of New CEO
and Return to Former Role as Chief Yahoo! and Board Member

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Nov 17, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) –

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO) today announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a search for a new Chief Executive Officer. Jerry Yang, co-Founder of Yahoo!, has decided to return to his former role as Chief Yahoo! upon the appointment of his successor as CEO, and he will also continue to serve on the Board. Yang, 40, assumed the CEO role at the Board’s request in June 2007, and he has led Yahoo! through a strategic repositioning and transformation of its platform.

Chairman Roy Bostock, working with the independent directors and in consultation with Jerry Yang, is leading the process of assessing potential candidates and determining finalists for consideration. The search will encompass both internal and external candidates, and the Board has retained Heidrick & Struggles, a leading international executive search firm, to assist in the process.

“Over the past year and a half, despite extraordinary challenges and distractions, Jerry Yang has led the repositioning of Yahoo! on an open platform model as well as the improved alignment of costs and revenues,” said Roy Bostock. “Jerry and the Board have had an ongoing dialogue about succession timing, and we all agree that now is the right time to make the transition to a new CEO who can take the company to the next level. We are deeply grateful to Jerry for his many contributions as CEO over the past 18 months, and we are pleased that he plans to stay actively involved at Yahoo! as a key executive and member of the Board.”

“From founding this company to guiding its growth into a trusted global brand that is indispensible to millions of people, I have always sought to do what is best for our franchise,” said Jerry Yang. “When the Board asked me to become CEO and lead the transformation of the Company, I did so because it was important to re-envision the business for a different era to drive more effective growth. Having set Yahoo! on a new, more open path, the time is right for me to transition the CEO role and our global talent to a new leader. I will continue to focus on global strategy and to do everything I can to help Yahoo! realize its full potential and enhance its leading culture of technology and product excellence and innovation.”

Internal Memo from Jerry Yang to all employees


Kara Swisher has the internal memo from Jerry Yang to fellow Yahooers
… This is pretty epic and so sad. I can’t believe that Yahoo can’t get their shit together to support their founder.

o: all yahoos
Fr: Jerry
Subject: update

yahoos -

i wanted to address all of you on the news we’ve just announced. the board of directors and I have agreed to initiate a succession process for the ceo role of yahoo!. roy bostock, our chairman of the board, is leading the effort to identify and assess potential candidates for consideration by the full board. the board will be evaluating and considering both internal and external candidates and has retained heidrick and struggles to help in this effort.

i will be participating in the search for my successor, and i will continue as ceo until the board selects a new ceo. once a successor is named, i will return to my previous role as chief yahoo and continue to serve as a director on the board.

last june, i accepted the board’s request that i assume the ceo role to restructure and reposition the company as a whole in order to more effectively meet the fast-changing needs of both users and partners. since taking on the ceo role, i have had an ongoing dialogue with the board about succession timing. thanks in large measure to your tireless efforts, we have created a more open, competitive yahoo! and we believe the time is now right to transition to a new ceo who can take the company to the next level.

despite the external environment we face, the fact remains that yahoo! is now a significantly different company that is stronger in many ways than it was just 18 months ago. this only makes it all the more essential that we manage this opportunity to leverage the progress up to this point as effectively as possible. i strongly believe that having transformed our platform and better aligned costs and revenues, we have a unique window for the right ceo to take ownership over the next wave of mission-critical decisions facing the company.

all of you know that I have always, and will always bleed purple. i will always do what I think is right for this great company. while this step will be an adjustment for all of us, i know it’s the right one. i look forward to updating you on this process as soon as the board has developments to share, and will continue to do everything i can to make yahoo! fulfill its full potential.

thank you,
jerry

Jerry: I am available to take over as CEO. Let me know when the interviews start. Time to clean house.

Is Yahoo Being Served Silicon Valley Divorce Papers ? It Needs Big Game Changing Product November 6, 2008

Posted by John in social media, Technology.
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3 comments

I’ve been thinking about the Jerry Yang conversation yesterday with John Batelle and it hit me – Yahoo has for years being the outsider in Silicon Valley. The recent blog and press coverage of Jerry’s comments yesterday make it clear that the core culture in Silicon Valley is frustrated with Yahoo and by default Jerry Yang.

Two posts stand out in my mind that got me thinking about this. Mike Arrington’s post and Om Malik’s post (other coverage is basically saying the same thing) speak to the core feelings about Yahoo.  I know both Mike and Om love Yahoo for it’s storied history, but like they and others (me included) are frustrated by the bungled execution.

What’s really going on here?  Yahoo losted a ton of great people in the years that it milked it’s dominant portal status.  That is compounded by a misdirection in strategy one that during the Semel years (the media focus) saw Yahoo lose many of their top product and engineering mavericks.  Innovation is the culture of Silicon Valley and Yahoo lost that years ago.  The recent pile on going down is just built up frustration by Silicon Valley on Yahoo and Jerry Yang is taking all the heat.

I’m pulling for Jerry Yang because I respect the ‘guts’ that it takes for the founder to come back.  It’s very noble of Jerry, but trying to transform his company into a platform player will take years.  It will take new leadership underneath Jerry.  Fact is they just don’t have the ‘chops’ on the product and engineering side.  Silicon Valley wants nothing to do with a ‘false’ prophet.  Jerry needs to move faster or the ‘mob’ will take them down (as Mike Arrington suggests).

Turning the Yahoo battleship will take time.  All Yahoo needs is one game changing new product.  This reminds me of the old minicomputer days.  Yahoo is the Digital Equipment Corp (DEC) of Web 2.0.  They’ve been on this portal and media thing why to long (similar to DEC on the minicomputer) – it might be too late. Some minicomputer companies like HP got new relevant products (hello LaserJet) that fueled a reinvention.

If Yahoo doesn’t get the new product and engineering mojo back Silicon Valley and others will completely turn on Yahoo.

It’s doable for Yahoo due to their ‘huge’ installed base of users, but the window is closing. They need a new product that is relevant – a new flagship.

Run Jerry Run!  Get it done.

I would love to see the founder take back his company and make the turn around.  The question is “do they have the people to do it”?  Silicon Valley doesn’t thinks so.

I’m not convinced yet of Yahoo’s demise and will wait to judge Yahoo.  I think that they can. I vote for the founder to stay – Jerry should stay, but he needs a new management team that will follow the founder in his vision.  I blame Semel not Jerry.

What do you think that they need to do?

Movin On – Thank God It’s Over – Lame Duck Ichan Yields to Yang and Yahoo July 21, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
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1 comment so far

Cofounder of Yahoo Jerry Yang can now get down to business. The Carl Icahn takeover saga is finally over. Icahn joins Yahoo’s board. I guess Carl has a lot of shares but his ‘lame duck’ board seat is a consolation prize for technologies version of “The Price is Right”. He lost. Last week we saw a final knock out blow to Icahn had him down for the count. Now we have peace.

“While I continue to believe that the sale of the whole company or the sale of its search business in the right transaction must be given full consideration, I share the view that Yahoo’s valuable collection of assets positions it well to continue expanding its online leadership and enhancing returns to stockholders,” Mr. Icahn said in the statement. “I believe this is a good outcome and that we will have a strong working relationship going forward.”

Finally Yahoo can get down to business and get the legal bull from Wall Street off their back. Expect a fast resolution to a Microsoft deal or other transaction (hmm AOL..). Yahoo has to move on now and get back to competing.

The market is in the toilet and Yahoo’s cofounder Jerry Yang is in charge again. Lets hope cofounder Jerry has some magic left.

Yahoo Please Join OpenSocial: Hey Jerry Yang – Go Social and Get Open Now; It’s all Jelly January 14, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
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9 comments

Jerry:  It’s time to join Open Social.  Now is the time to change the game.  

I’ve been posting a lot on Yahoo recently first on Yahoo at CES and then on their stock performance.  I believe that Yahoo can be a big player in web 2.0 and social networks.  Yahoo can be competitive and might just have the answer in being the next Google-like performing company.  Specifically, Yahoo has already helped pioneer RSS and widgets (with Konfabulator).  Now it’s time for Yahoo to join open social.  Yahoo has the assets to make a difference in web 2.0.

The three things that I would do right now if I were Yahoo:

1) Join OpenSocial immediately – like tomorrow

2) Do a major stock repurchase – joining OpenSocial and going open will cause some stock performance in the short term so it’s no better a time to do a stock buyback. Show everyone you’re in it for the long haul.  Don’t sell.

3) Port all your products to be web 2.0 enabled including social networking environments and data portability.

These three things can propell Yahoo to the front of the line in term of being competitive while delivering user value.   

My prediction:  Yahoo will join OpenSocial.  By joining OpenSocial Yahoo can take advantage of their huge subscribe base, lead the open data movement, and leverage the user behavior trend in social networking and widgets.

It’s the bread and jelly that Yahoo needs. It already has the peanut butter. 

Jerry Yang took over as CEO this past June and announced it here on his blog.

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