Carol Bartz is in as *Yahoo* CEO effective immediately — and Sue Decker is leaving as president after being passed over for the job. Decker will stay on as president for a “transitional” period. Bartz comes to Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) from Autodesk, where she has been executive chairman since stepping down in 2006 after 14 years as CEO. A few hours after reports of her appointment started to emerge, Bartz is already on board, holding management meetings this afternoon; in fact, she’s already listed on the management team page. (You can read the release and listen to the meeting after the jump.)
Bartz, who said she was first approached by the Yahoo board in December, and Roy Bostock, chairman of the Yahoo board, held a 15-minute conference call just after the official news went out. Bostock introduced Bartz as a “seasoned, decisive and highly regarded technology executive” — he used decisive more than once — and stressed that Bartz is “the only person to whom we’ve offered this job.” Decker gets a “thank you” for all her work and for agreeing to help with the transition — the conference call equivalent of a laurel and a hearty handshake. Jerry Yang got thanks for stepping in 18 months ago “at the request of the board.” Bartz picked up the verbal baton from Bostock with a “ya-Hoo.”
Highlights from the call after the jump…
– “It’s no secret that Yahoo has faced challenges over the past year but as I look around here today I see a powerful global brand with a great collection of assets, strong technology, good cash flow and enormously talented employees. I believe there is now an extraordinary opportunity going forward to create value for our shareholders and new possibilities for our customers, partners and employees. Believe me, we will seize that opportunity. I’m sure many of you are interested in my perspective on the various issues Yahoo is currently facing. Should we do a search deal? Should we divest of certain assets? Are there more cost-saving opportunities? Where is the business going? And finally, what’s my vision for Yahoo.” Believe me, I have a lot of ideas on these subjects but t would be very presumptuous of me to discuss them publicly on my first day on the job so I’m not going to.” She added later, “I wouldn’t have taken the job unless if I didn’t believe there’s a huge opportunity here.” Describing herself as a straight shooter, she said open communications is priority but said she will do a “deep dive” before talking more to analysts and reporters. She said the next time we would hear from her is at the Yahoo earnings call on Jan. 27.
The pair took a few questions from analysts, asking that the subjects be limited to the CEO search. Asked what she brings in terms of media and technology, Bartz replied: “I didn’t know CAD when I joined Autodesk, I didn’t know hardware when I joined Sun. I am a technology person. I am a market-driven person. I love customers. I suspect I have a little brain power to learn what it takes to understand media.” She added that people in the company and on the board can help “jump start her education.”
– Yahoo’s competitive strengths? “I think Yahoo has unfortunately been battered in the last year and caused it to look internally and be protective and that’s nonsense for such a great company … The important thing we’re going to focus on is being best in all of our markets, it’s creating new markets whether it’s geographic markets or vertical markets, and really get outward looking and kick some butt.”
– Timeline? No hundred-day march promised by Bartz. “Let’s not put some crazy timeline, let’s let this process evolve and more than anything, let’s give this company some frigging breathing room.”
Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), a leading global brand and one of the world’s most trafficked Internet destinations, announced today that Carol Bartz, a veteran technology executive who was most recently Executive Chairman of Autodesk, has been named Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors, effective immediately.
Prior to becoming Executive Chairman of Autodesk in 2006, Bartz, 60, led Autodesk as CEO for 14 years, transforming the company into a leader in computer-aided design software. During her tenure as CEO, revenues increased from less than $300 million to more than $1.5 billion, and the company’s share price increased nearly ten-fold.
In addition to turning around Autodesk, Bartz’s extensive executive experience includes hands-on responsibility for leading global operations, engineering, sales and marketing organizations for large technology and engineering companies including Sun Microsystems, Digital Equipment Corporation and 3M.
Roy Bostock, Chairman of the Board, said, “We are very excited to have Carol Bartz leading Yahoo! into its next era of growth. She 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!. She 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. Carol meets all of the criteria we set for the search and is the only person to whom we offered the job. The Board is united in its view that her energetic and decisive leadership style, coupled with a proven track record of driving growth, operational excellence and shareholder value, is exactly what Yahoo! needs to get back on a path toward achieving its full potential.”
Bostock continued, “On behalf of the entire Board, I would like to thank Jerry Yang for acceding to our request 18 months ago to step into the CEO role. Jerry’s unwavering enthusiasm for Yahoo!, his unique perspective on the company, and iconic stature in the industry make him an invaluable resource for the future. We are delighted that he plans to stay actively involved and are deeply grateful for his many contributions to the company’s development over the years.”
Carol Bartz said, “Yahoo! is a powerful global brand with a great collection of assets, strong technology, and enormously talented employees. The Company has accomplished a great deal in its relatively short history and I look forward to working together to take it to the next level. There is no denying that Yahoo! has faced enormous challenges over the last year, but I believe there is now an extraordinary opportunity to create value for our shareholders and new possibilities for our customers, partners and employees. We will seize that opportunity.”
Jerry Yang said, “I couldn’t be more pleased with the Board’s choice of Carol Bartz as CEO and look forward to returning to my former role as Chief Yahoo. I believe Carol is the ideal person to take Yahoo! forward and I will be honored to be a resource to assist her in any way she finds helpful. I believe Yahoo!’s best years are still ahead of it. For the past 14 years, I have poured all of my energies into this great company — and I hope to keep contributing to its success for many years to come.”
Yahoo! also announced that President Sue Decker has informed the Board that she will resign after remaining with the Company for a transitional period. Bostock said, “The Board thanks Sue for her service as President, the important contributions she has made to Yahoo!’s development in a variety of roles over the past 8-1/2 years, and her willingness to work with Carol Bartz to ensure a smooth transition. We respect her decision to move on to other challenges and wish her only the best.”
Carol Bartz has been the Lead Independent Director of *Cisco Systems* since 2005 and a director since 1996. She also currently serves on the Board of Directors of *Intel* Corporation and NetApp. She holds a bachelors degree in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin.