After two months of search, Yahoo Inc has finally found a chief executive officer. The world’s most visited internet portal has hired Carol Bartz, former chief executive of software company Autodesk Inc., as its next CEO. Yahoo’s co-founder Jerry Yang had left as its CEO two months ago after he failed to turn around the company and amidst shareholder criticism for not doing a merger deal with Microsoft-owned MSN.
With Bartz’s appointment, Yahoo will also see the departure of its current president, Susan Decker. Apparently, Decker was also interviewed for the top job, but she lost out as she did not enjoy the support of a few board members and shareholders. Decker, an eight-year veteran at Yahoo, will leave the company in order to give Bartz a freer hand to turn around Yahoo.
It remains to be seen if the 60-year old veteran Silicon Valley executive, who is also a breast cancer survivor, can ride the troubled Internet company out of its woes. Yahoo has been facing severe competition from its chief rival Google even as the advertising revenues have been shrinking.
Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock said, “She (Bartz) is the exact combination of seasoned technology executive and savvy leader that the Board was looking for, and we are thrilled to have attracted such a world-class talent to Yahoo!.” He further said that Bartz is “admired in the Valley as well as on Wall Street for her deep management expertise, strong customer orientation, excellent people skills, and firm understanding of the challenges facing our industry”.
She has led Autodesk as CEO for 14 years, and is believed to have transformed the company into a leader in computer-aided design software. During her tenure as CEO, Autodesk’s revenues increased from less than $300 million to more than $1.5 billion, and the company’s share price increased nearly ten-fold.
Bostock said Carol met all of the criteria they had set for the search and was the only person to whom they offered the job. Earlier, it was reported that Vodafone’s former CEO Arun Sarin was being considered for the top job.
Bartz sits on the boards of Cisco Systems Inc (along with Jerry Yang, who is said to have supported her candidature) and Intel Corp.
Bartz has to deal with crucial strategic questions like whether Yahoo will now sell its search business to Microsoft. On a conference call on Tuesday, Bartz said she had “a lot of ideas” on the subject of a search deal and other issues facing the company, but declined to go into details, says a WSJ report. “It would be very presumptuous for me to do so on my first day on the job and I am not going to do so,” she said.