Yahoo Fires CEO Bartz, Launches Review Of Company's Strategic Direction

CFO Tim Morse has been named interim CEO while the company searches for a replacement for Bartz.

In addition to looking for a new CEO, Yahoo will undergo "a comprehensive strategic review that the board has initiated to position the company for future growth," the company said in a statement. The board created an executive leadership council made up of Morse and five other top executives to conduct the review.

The Wall Street Journal said Bartz's firing came after independent directors studied Yahoo's assets and performance and concluded the company wasn't performing as well as it could. The board came to the conclusion that a change in top management was needed to turn things around, the story said.

The story also quoted an anonymous source as saying that Yahoo is open to selling itself to the right bidder.

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Yahoo had been struggling long before Bartz was named CEO in January 2009. But during her tenure revenue continued to decrease as competitors such as Google and Facebook attracted more visitors and ad sales declined. In fiscal 2010 (ended Dec. 31) Yahoo reported revenue of $6.32 billion, down from $6.46 billion in 2009 and $7.21 billion in 2008. In this year's second quarter (ended June 30) revenue dropped 23 percent to $1.23 billion from $1.60 billion in the same period one year earlier.

Bartz came on board after Yahoo turned down a $47.5 billion unsolicited buyout offer from Microsoft in 2008. The two companies later formed a strategic alliance around search technology and display advertising.

"I am very sad to tell you that I've just been fired over the phone by Yahoo's chairman of the board," Bartz said in a note she sent to her staff late Tuesday, according to the Wall Street Journal story. "It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward."

"We are confident that we have talented teams in place and see enormous opportunities on which Yahoo can capitalize, and right now we are focused on leveraging the company's leadership and current business assets and platforms to execute against these," said a memo sent late Tuesday to all Yahoo employees by Bostock and Yahoo co-founders Jerry Yang and David Filo.

"We fully intend to return the company to a path of robust growth and industry-leading innovation. We are committed to exploring and evaluating possibilities and opportunities that will put Yahoo on a trajectory for growth."