Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz Fired By Phone

carol-bartz-surprised

Yahoo Chairman of the Board Roy Bostock fired CEO Carol Bartz over the phone today. Both were apparently on planes heading in different directions when the information was given to Bartz, All Things Digital reported.

The company named CFO Tim Morse interim CEO. An "Executive Leadership Council" has been formed to support Morse until a full-time CEO is appointed, Yahoo said in a statement. The council consists of Michael Callahan, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary; Blake Irving, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer; Ross Levinsohn, Executive Vice President, Americas; Rich Riley, Senior Vice President & MD, EMEA Region; and Rose Tsou, Senior Vice President, APAC Region. Yahoo co-founders David Filo and Jerry Yang, will continue as Chief Yahoo and will provide counsel to Morse and the council.

Bartz, who has been with Yahoo for 30 months, had not turned the company around – the stock price is pretty close to that of when she took over and she's had some run-ins with co-founder Jerry Yang who has become more involved with the company recently. He stepped down from the CEO position to allow Bartz to take charge.

Yahoo has had some problems deciding what the company's objectives are. They turned down a buyout offer from Microsoft at over $30 a share – a price everyone holding the $12.50 shares would no doubt accept today. Interestingly the shares have jumped in after hours trading by over 6 percent to $13.72.

What will become of the company will be fuel for the rumor mill in coming days –AT&T, News Corp and Verizon have been mentioned as possible buyers. Could Yahoo go private? Be split up? Something else, if Yahoo can find itself a true leader? 

Bartz has had her moments over the past 30 months - her numerous layoffs, the killing off of many of the companies products, her battle with the media and internal leaks, and the loss of numerous talented executives and engineers.

Bartz had a passing shot at the board in her "goodbye" email sent out to all employees.

To all,
I am very sad to tell you that I've just been fired over the phone by Yahoo's Chairman of the Board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.
Carol

What happens next will add to the saga of Yahoo - once the flagship of Internet companies, now struggling to find ways to monetize their visitors.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.