Bringing Carol Bartz on board as Yahoo’s CEO in 2009 was meant to be part of a major turnaround for the company, but Yahoo’s market share continues to flounder. Despite criticism, however, Bartz received support from the board of directors and won re-election to her own board position.
Confidence and Skepticism
Unsurprisingly, the shareholder meeting was a chance for Yahoo representatives, including Bartz, to discuss the company’s successes. Bartz described the company tactic as focusing on “anchors and tent-poles,” according to paidContent. The company will be focusing on major events, such as the Super Bowl or Royal Wedding, which have proven successful for the company in the past.
“Yahoo is the number one website in the United States and has been for seven months in a row,” said Bartz, although she failed to specify exactly what metrics and comparisons she was using to substantiate that claim.
Among other skeptics, according to PCWorld, was an investor who also works as an advisor to numerous other shareholders. He stated that Bartz’s remarks were just “excuses” and “victory laps.” After making numerous criticisms, he directly called for Bartz’s resignation. “The last thing Yahoo needs right now is a lame-duck CEO,” he stated.
Unfortunately for Bartz, the skepticism and upset shareholders may mean much more than a vote of confidence from the board. Terry Semel received a similar vote of confidence in the 2007 shareholder meeting, but was ousted a week later.
Is Bartz to Blame?
Is Bartz really the right person to point the finger at? She has certainly made mistakes, but the company’s history of missteps and decline start well before her entry into the CEO position.
Criticisms levied against Bartz include some choices in management, the lower-than-anticipated revenue from the Microsoft-Yahoo! search deal, the low stock value for the company, and – most recently – the controversy with Alibaba.
Alibaba, in which Yahoo holds a 43 percent share, recently spun off their payment system (Alipay) to a Chinese company. According to Yahoo, Alibaba did so without informing Yahoo representatives. The two companies have been in discussion on the subject for over a month.
Despite these criticisms, however, Yahoo is faring marginally better than it did when Bartz stepped into her current role. The closing stock value for the date of the 2011 shareholder meeting was $15.23, compared to $12.10 in January 2009 when Bartz joined the company.