Yahoo Getting Strong Track Record, Leadership In Carol Bartz - InformationWeek

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1/13/2009
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Yahoo Getting Strong Track Record, Leadership In Carol Bartz

A Bartz appointment could also signal that Yahoo sees itself as a software company, not just a company providing online services.

The selection of Carol Bartz as the next CEO of Yahoo could signal the company's commitment to reversing its fortunes and regaining a position of strength, rather than reaching to outside companies for help.

"A lot of people believe that adding her dresses up the company to make it more palatable for some sort of deal," Allen Weiner, research VP for Gartner Media AIS, said during an interview Tuesday. "I disagree with that."

Companies bring in a software executive of Bartz's caliber for the long haul, he said.

The Wall Street Journal cited inside sources and reported that Bartz had accepted an offer from Yahoo to become replace Jerry Yang as CEO.

Barron's named Bartz one of the 30 most respected CEOs in the world in 2005.

In addition to serving as executive chairperson of the board for Autodesk, Bartz serves on the boards of directors of Intel, Cisco, NetApp, and the Foundation for the National Medals of Science and Technology.

In 2005, Fortune listed her as one of the 50 most powerful women in business and The Wall Street Journal named her one of the 50 women to watch. Among her long list of honors and awards is: Ernst & Young's Northern California Master Entrepreneur of the Year, which she received in 2001.

Bartz spent 14 years as the chairperson, president, and CEO of Autodesk, before stepping down in April 2006. She grew that company's revenue from $285 million to $1.523 billion in fiscal year 2006, according to her company bio. Before leading Autodesk, Bartz was VP of worldwide field operations and an executive officer of Sun Microsystems.

She sits on President George W. Bush's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which sets the federal government's tech agenda.

Bartz earned an honors degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin, and she holds honorary doctorate degrees from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and William Woods University.

Weiner said that Bartz is a prime candidate for a company seeking to turn itself around and return to its "previous iconic status."

"I have a feeling that Yahoo has another chance, if not two, to regain its previous stature," he said, adding that the current economic climate presents something of a level playing field that Yahoo can use to its advantage.

The selection of an outsider provides a fresh face and fresh perspective that won't be associated with Yahoo's recent failures, Weiner said.

That seemed to be reflected in Yahoo's stock prices in after-hours trading Tuesday, as shares moved up 0.83% into positive territory and traded at $12.20, off the day's lows of $11.78.

A Bartz appointment could also signal that Yahoo sees itself as a software company, not just a company providing online services. Yahoo's recent demonstration of its software platform for television backs that up. After seeing it live, Weiner said he believes the company has some "sparks" left and the next CEO's job will be to ignite them and fan the flames.

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