Autodesk's Bartz to Lead Yahoo!
Yahoo!’s certainly been through it over the past couple of years, struggling with unfulfilled expectations, failed mergers, and investor revolts long before the economy tanked. Now lucky lucky Carol Bartz, 60, former CEO of Autodesk, is going to take a shot at saving the company.
Reuters says that Bartz “does not have an established reputation as a deal-maker” and “Yahoo! investors regarded her appointment skeptically.” Moreover and perhaps all-importantly in this Wall Street-myopic world we all live in, “shares of the Internet search and advertising company [dropped] more than 3 percent during the trading day.” Since Wall Street has been making some excellent choices lately, I think everyone should listen carefully to what those folks think about any given deal.
AllThingsD covered the appointment from practically every angle, including Kara Swisher’s live blog of the press conference noting that among Bartz’ first words were “friggin’” and “Yahooooo!” I’m not sure what the problem is there. Sounds like she’ll fit right in. Swisher says that only three questions are allowed during the press conference and thus doesn’t get to ask her question, which is the same as mine: “Why, Carol, why?” I have the same question for Barack Obama and Julius Genachowski.
TechCrunch also notes that Bartz, while able to boast of a strong record at Autodesk, knows nothing about running an Internet company. This reporter/blogger also wonders if Bartz is being brought in to “dress the company up and sell it,” a reasonable conclusion to draw. He also notes that Bartz knows both outgoing CEO Jerry Yang and outgoing President Susan Decker (who will not stay with the company, something that wasn’t sure until today), so she’s got ties to current management.
Over at GigaOm, Om Malik lists seven reasons why Bartz is the one for the job. He also notes that she’s been known to use “foul language,” so “friggin’” sounds like it’s really only a starting point for Bartz. And why shouldn’t she swear? I’d be swearing too if I had just gotten that job.
Overall, it sounds like Bartz is a take-no-prisoners sort of CEO who is perfectly capable of learning on the job. I know the Silicon Valley folks think running an Internet company is much different than running a traditional software company, but it seems to me that if Bartz has the business chops, the willingness, the smarts and the guts – not the commonest of combinations – she has a chance to return Yahoo! to its former glory. Or at least to sell the company to someone else and then maybe they’ll do it.