Veteran Silicon Valley executive Carol Bartz took over the helm of Yahoo on Tuesday, vowing to revive the ailing Internet firm and calling on critics to give it room to breathe.
Bartz, 60, replaces Yahoo founder Jerry Yang (楊致遠), who stepped down on Nov. 18 after a rocky tenure as chief executive of the Sunnyvale, California, firm that lasted a little over a year.
“Let’s give this company some frigging breathing room,” Bartz said during a short conference call with reporters and analysts.
“It’s been too crazy with everyone on the outside telling Yahoo what it should and shouldn’t do and what is best for them, and that is going to stop,” she said.
Yang, who founded Yahoo in 1994 with Stanford University classmate David Filo, will remain at Yahoo, and the board said his “iconic stature in the industry makes him an invaluable resource.”
While announcing an end to the search for a new CEO, Yahoo revealed that president Sue Decker is resigning. Decker had been considered a contender for the CEO post.
Yahoo board chairman Roy Bostock credited Bartz with “turning around” Autodesk as the head of the computer-aided-design software firm.
“The bottom line is that Carol more than meets the criteria we set for the search and is the only person to whom we offered this job,” Bostock said.
“Carol is a seasoned, decisive and highly regarded executive. We are confident she is the right leader to get Yahoo back on track,” he said.
Yahoo has been outshined by Internet-search star Google and stumbled in the wake of a failed courtship with Microsoft, which offered last year to buy Yahoo for nearly US$47 billion.
“Yahoo has unfortunately been battered in the past year and that has forced it to look internally and be protective,” Bartz said.
“I think that is nonsense. We are going to focus on really getting outward looking and kick some butt,” she said.
Bartz served as president, chairman and CEO of Autodesk from 1992 to April 2006 when she became executive chairman of the company, which is based in San Rafael, California, and has some 7,000 employees.
She formerly worked at Sun Microsystems Inc, Digital Equipment Corp and 3M Corp and sits on the boards of Cisco Systems Inc, Intel Corp and NetApp.
Bartz had her first meeting with Yahoo department managers on Tuesday and said she planned a “deep dive” into the workings of the company while formulating a leadership strategy.
Yahoo has been losing ground on the Internet to companies such as Google, MySpace and Facebook, and the economic slowdown has hurt the firm particularly hard as advertisers cut back on spending.
Yang’s rejection of Microsoft’s US$33 a share takeover bid was met with disapproval by many shareholders, including billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who led a revolt against Yang and was eventually named to Yahoo’s board.
Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has said the software giant remains interested in acquiring Yahoo’s search business and analysts said Bartz’s appointment could revive talks between the companies.