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.