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LIVE: Yahoo Announces Carol Bartz as CEO

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 13, 2009

Here’s my liveblog of the Yahoo conference call announcing Yahoo’s appointment of Carol Bartz as CEO:

Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock comes on with effusive praise for Bartz. “Carol more than meets the criteria we set on the search and is the only person we offered the job.”

Now Bartz comes on. “Yahoo,” she says, but with more humor than exclamation. She praises Yang and says she will take advantage of his presence, which I think is significant, for better or worse. Better because he’s still widely admired by many inside the company, worse because his influence could be a drag on change.

Bartz forthrightly raises the choices Yahoo faces and says she has opinions on them but also says she won’t share them now, before she has a chance to more closely examine operations. “I’m a straight shooter and I’m going to tell you exactly how I see it.” Her focus is on turning the company around. But clearly she has to take a closer look first.

Now, Bostock takes “a few brief questions.” First up, Ben Schachter at UBS: What did she think when she was approached by Yahoo? And is Yahoo a tech or media company?

Bartz says she saw Yahoo as a strong company that “frankly could use a little management. I like to make decisions.”

As for whether she can be chief of a media company with no media or Internet experience, she responds: “I think that’s a bunch of nonsense. I didn’t know CAD when I joined Autodesk. I have a little brainpower to figure out” how to deal with media.

Another question on her plans doesn’t yield a certain answer.

Mark Mahaney of Citi asks if she has been able to research the company enough to have some idea of where to take Yahoo next and when she might know her plans. Bartz says she’s having her first management meeting in 10 minutes, so can’t provide a timeline on when she will announce her plans. “Let’s give this company some friggin’ breathing room.”

And that’s it. Finis. Three questions and out.

I’d wish for more, but it’s understandable she can’t offer much in the way of specifics yet. My takeaway: This is the same old Carol I knew from long ago at Sun. No-nonsense and decisive. Whatever she may be lacking in experience, she makes up for in telling it like it is. That’s refreshing (know any CEO who publicly uses the word “friggin’”?).

Will that be enough to turn around Yahoo? That’s still to be seen.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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