Yahoo Inc. has offered its CEO position to Carol Bartz, the executive chairman of the board of Autodesk Inc., according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal's story reports that Bartz has accepted Yahoo's offer to replace former CEO Jerry Yang. Yang stepped down last November after failed buyout talks with Microsoft Corp., the collapse of an online advertising deal with Google Inc. and two rounds of layoffs. Yahoo was quick to announce that it had begun searching for a new company leader.
Yang, a Yahoo co-founder who had been CEO since June 2007, will reassume his former title of “Chief Yahoo” and remain on the company's board.
Bartz was president and CEO of Autodesk, a software and services company, for 14 years before stepping down in 2006. Previously, Bartz was an executive at Sun Microsystems Inc., Digital Equipment Corp. and 3M Corp.
“Bartz is the definition of 'adult management' and has shown herself to be able to grow companies through both good and bad times,” said Dan Olds, principal analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group. “While she was at Autodesk, revenue multiplied by five times. She doesn't have any experience that is directly applicable to Yahoo, working mainly with tangible products. I actually believe this will be a benefit to the company. She will bring a forceful pragmatism that I believe is missing at Yahoo. I see her as a force that can change the culture at Yahoo, focusing the company's efforts.”
Olds also noted that with Bartz possibly on board at Yahoo, talks between Yahoo and Microsoft could be renewed. “I would expect her to take a hard look at a potential deal and evaluate it on its business merits,” he added. “This is a contrast with previous management, where you had the feeling that they were much more interested in remaining independent from MS at all costs.”