Date: July 4, 2011

Company:  Yahoo

CEO:  Carol Bartz

Source: Business Insider SAI

Synopsis:  Yahoo's stock has been getting hammered.  Business Insider reports the board is quietly putting out feelers for a new CEO.  One issue is that the Yahoo executive team appears to be clueless about what's happening with Alibaba in China, something that is "quickly developing into a big scandal that could lead to a shake-up at the top of the company."  Bartz's contract will end in about a year and a half, when its expected she will be done. The question is whether the company will make a change before then.  One shareholder reportedly says they also regard the board as one of the worst they've ever encountered.

Background:    Yahoo owns a big piece of Chinese internet giant Alibaba. Alibaba had owned Chinese online payment company Alipay until August when it sold the company. It apparently didn't tell Yahoo it was selling off Alipay. Yahoo found out on March 31, but didn't disclose the news on its earnings call three weeks later. Yahoo said it was trying to get more information, but admitted there was a "serious communication failure."

Brand Buster:   In her three-year tenure, Bartz has "never expressed a clear vision for the company". She has "failed to improve Yahoo's core business." She has also alienated Asia partners, some of whom have been publicly critical of her.  Bartz is known for her blunt talk; I remember writing an article about a year ago about how she dropped the "f" bomb in an interview which quickly made it to You Tube.  Everybody makes mistakes; hers seems to be compounding.

Prediction:   While board members who contacted the publication later claimed they fully support Bartz, the editors say rumors are some would fully support an immediate change.  However, her replacement doesn't appear to be waiting in the wings.  By now they should have a succession plan in place and the fact that they don't suggests an upheaval and a rocky transition that certainly won't put Yahoo on solid footing for awhile.


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