Yahoo's new CEO - safe but uninspiring

Bernstein analyst: We question the logic of the pick

Financial trends and news by Bambi Francisco Roizen
January 13, 2009
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 Shares of Yahoo initially spiked, then ended the day down nearly 1% to $12.10, after news came out that Yahoo chose former Autodesk CEO Carol Bartz to become Chief Executiv of the struggling Internet giant. 

Clearly, the market isn't that excited by the 60-year-old software executive. One analyst - Jeff Lindsay at Bernstein - wrote out his concerns:

"While we think Ms. Bartz has been a good CEO at Autodesk, a B2B software company, we question the logic of her selection... She is just keeping the seat warm until a deal is done with Microsoft. If so, we hope that a full acquisition of the business is being contemplated, and not just a search deal - because finding a strategy for Yahoo without search would likely be an even greater challenge for a new CEO.

If there is no impending deal with Microsoft, then we think Ms. Bartz is not a natural choice of CEO to restructure Yahoo and drive it towards a new strategic vision for three reasons: a) she has no consumer or advertising background - Yahoo makes most of its money in the deeply troubled display advertising sector b) she has no direct international management experience - the European and Asia-Pacific regions have not been key drivers of Yahoo's revenue growth as they have for competitors such as Google  c) she has no obvious M&A experience - major Internet players like Google are completing one acquisition every 3-5 weeks."

Lindsay goes on to say that Bartz is "safe but generally uninspiring."

Ouch! Lindsay is harder on Bartz then I was on Terry Semel, when he became CEO of Yahoo years ago. 

(Image source: CNet)



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