Yahoo faces struggle after sacking Carol Bartz

Steve Dinneen
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CONTROVERSIAL Yahoo chief executive Carol Bartz was unceremoniously axed yesterday, ending her strained tenure at the helm of the struggling internet giant.

In typically frank style, she informed staff by sending a mass email saying the chairman had just fired her over the phone.

Few employees will shed tears for their notoriously ruthless former boss, with Bartz famed for several rounds of mass-redundancies (she once said she likes to do her firing in the mornings). Her approval rating among staff is said to have dipped from 90 per cent when she joined to just 33 per cent this summer.

Her no-nonsense approach was mirrored in her dealings with the media, encapsulated by the now infamous live interview in which she gave the editor of a US online magazine a four letter word telling off. She has also revealed her more caring side when she said she hugs her employees “all the time”.

Unfortunately her unorthodox style did not spark the turnaround the Yahoo board had hoped for, with the company still struggling to stem the exodus of users and set to be superceded by Facebook in terms of display advertising revenue.

Analysts point to the company’s strained relationship with its Chinese partners in the Alibaba venture, in which Yahoo owns a 40 per cent stake, as a key factor in her departure.

The market immediately endorsed the firing, with Yahoo shares closing up 5.5 per cent yesterday – not the ringing endorsement of her leadership Bartz may have hoped for.

But the 63-year-old is unlikely to remain unemployed for long. She has held a senior position at Sun Microsystems and was chief executive of software-maker Autodesk. She has also been awarded doctorates from three prominent US universities.

Chief financial officer Timothy Morse has been parachuted in as chief executive on a temporary basis.

He faces an uphill struggle to succeed where Bartz could not. She arrived in the aftermath of a failed merger with Microsoft that would have valued Yahoo at $47bn. It is now worth just $16bn.