Yahoo on Thursday announced a corporate overhaul in the face of stockholder rebellion and front-office desertions.
The reorganization comes as Yahoo fights off an attempted coup by corporate raider Carl Icahn and watches dozens of high-ranking executives dash for the exits.
More than 50 executives have left the once high-flying firm since Microsoft went public with a takeover offer in early February.
In part to stop the bleeding, the Yahoo is realigning resources into three teams reporting to company president Sue Decker.
Yahoo also said it is prioritizing what is known as “cloud computing,” a trend in which Internet firms such as Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce.com provide software programs as services that people use online instead of installing and operating on their own machines.
“These moves accelerate the ability of our deep and talented team to build great products, grow our audiences and improve monetization globally,” Yahoo chief executive Jerry Yang (楊致遠) said on Thursday.
Microsoft offered to buy Yahoo for US$44.6 billion in stock and cash on Jan. 31, but withdrew the offer on May 3, saying Yahoo refused to budge despite the software giant upping its bid to nearly US$48 billion.
Icahn has since snatched up more than 4 percent of Yahoo’s stock and launched a campaign to oust board members and replace them with a slate amenable to a tie-up with Microsoft.
Analyst Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group in Silicon Valley likened Yahoo’s reorganization with the crew of the doomed trans-Atlantic Titanic oceanliner scrambling to correct course when it was too late.
“Yahoo is making critical changes that would have helped them avoid the iceberg, but unfortunately it comes after they hit it,” Enderle said. “The problem is that everything Yahoo is doing is strategic with long-term benefit and they just don’t have the time. I don’t think their investors are in it for the long term.”
Meanwhile, Yahoo executives have been abandoning the Yahoo ship at breakneck pace.
“Microsoft has been aggressively fishing Yahoo with newspaper ads and head hunters,” Enderle said. “Google is probably doing it too, only less overtly. Yahoo is a fishing ground. They’ve bled a lot of people.”
Technology blog TechCrunch has devoted a page to the exodus, and a “Yahoo! Alumni” group on Facebook reports having swelled to more than 1,800 members.
The reorganization is intended to speed up bringing products to market and expedite decision making, said Decker, who suggested the reorganization was in the works before the latest turmoil.
“We have planned these changes deliberately over the past several months to clarify responsibilities and to capitalize on the scale advantages while allowing for fine tuning to meet local market needs,” Decker said.
It remains to be seen whether the changes will quell an Icahn-led rebellion at an annual meeting of shareholders set for Aug. 1.