Yahoo jumps after Bartz ousted by phone

Ronny Kerr · September 7, 2011 · Short URL:

CFO Timothy Morse named interim CEO with help of new Executive Leadership Council

Surprise, surprise: another Yahoo! CEO bites the dust.

Yahoo!, which has continually struggled to define its place in today’s new Web, announced Tuesday evening that Carol Bartz has been stripped of her position as CEO of the company, ending her two-and-a-half year tenure. The foul-mouthed CEO told staffers she was fired by phone. 

On the news, shares jumped 6% in after-hours trading. Yahoo shares rose 4% in most recent trading on Wednesday.

The company’s board of directors, which ultimately made and carried out the decision, has named EVP and CFO Timothy Morse as interim chief executive while the search for a new, permanent CEO is ongoing. Morse will carry on his duties as chief financial officer.

Here’s the statement made by Roy Bostock, chairman of the Yahoo! board:  

The Board sees enormous growth opportunities on which Yahoo! can capitalize, and our primary objective is to leverage the Company's leadership and current business assets and platforms to execute against these opportunities. We have talented teams and tremendous resources behind them and intend to return the Company to a path of robust growth and industry-leading innovation. We are committed to exploring and evaluating possibilities and opportunities that will put Yahoo! on a trajectory for growth and innovation and deliver value to shareholders.

On behalf of the entire Board, I want to thank Carol for her service to Yahoo! during a critical time of transition in the Company's history, and against a very challenging macro-economic backdrop. I would also like to express the Board's appreciation to Tim and thank him for accepting this important role. We have great confidence in his abilities and in those of the other executives who have been named to the Executive Leadership Council.

The newly formed Executive Leadership Council consists of several VPs charged with helping Morse in his interim role. Yahoo’s original founders, along with the board of directors, will likely be helping things move along smoothly as well.

Unfortunately for Yahoo!, it’s going to take a lot more than replacing Bartz to get things back on track. After all, not every technology company can have their Steve Jobs moment.

Perhaps the only thing Yahoo! has done lately to keep its head above water is slash jobs and eliminate lesser used services. The most recent mass job cuts took place in December and January, amounting to nearly five percent of the company, and, around the same time, sites like Delicious were sold off.

Things were bad when Bartz was appointed CEO in January 2009 and they’re only worse now because not much has changed. Experts at Citi Investment Research & Analysis expressed this very same sentiment:

“Our closing take is that Bartz joined YHOO in Janaury [sic] 2009, when it was an arguably deteriorating asset that appeared to be missing out on Key Secular Growth trends like Social, Mobile, Local, and Video. And she leaves in September 2011 with YHOO clearly being a deteriorating asset with limited plays on these trends.”

On January 13, 2009, the day Yahoo! made Bartz its new CEO, the company’s shares were already at their lowest in ages, closing for the day at $12.10. Nearly three years later, not much has changed, with Yahoo! stock closing for the day at $12.91.

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