Yahoo Fires CEO Carol Bartz, Silicon Valley Rejoices

With a dismal 33 percent approval rating from employees, Bartz was not very popular

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Carol Bartz was fired from her job as Yahoo's CEO with a phone call from Roy Bostock, the company's chairman, early Tuesday evening. The executive, who was not known for being widely liked by her colleagues during her tenure, then took the liberty of telling the entire company with an email sent from on the go. "I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo's Chairman of the Board," she wrote. "It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward." Her coda as Yahoo CEO: "Sent from my iPad."

Based on her dismal approval rating, however, the vast majority of her staffers probably wouldn't echo that sentiment. Carol Bartz got off to a good start at Yahoo, but she left to a chorus of jeers. "Ding dong the witch is dead," read a tweet from former Yahoo executive Brad Garlinghouse. "I recall the time Carol Bartz could not give a coherent answer to the question: what is Yahoo?," tweeted NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen. "Who says she can't raise Yahoo's share price?" asked Andy Beal, CEO of, pointing to a report on Yahoo's stock price jumping 6 percent in after hours trading, following the news. Not even Yahoo's official press release sounded kind; it said that Bartz "has been removed by the Board."

Yahoo's CFO Timothy Morse will take over as interim CEO, effective immediately. It also seems like every blogger immediately had something say about Bartz.

Kara Swisher at AllThingsD, who broke the news of Bartz's firing wonders about Yahoo's future but says it couldn't be much worse than it's recent past:

As I wrote earlier today, when the Internet giant announced on January 13, 2009, that it had hired longtime Silicon Valley tech veteran — who was well-regarded for her tenure at running Autodesk — to replace outgoing CEO and co-founder Yang and turn around the company, there was much hope.

At the time, she presented a take-no-prisoners image and was touted as someone with a reputation as a professional manager who could clean up the place. Not so, as it has turned out. While Bartz has streamlined certain areas and made some strong management hires, her performance has been decidedly bumpy and mostly downhill.

Dylan Tweney at VentureBeat explains her terrible approval rating:

According to a survey by Glassdoor, Bartz’s approval rating among Yahoo employees has nosedived quarter after quarter to a dismal 24% in the second quarter of 2011, before bouncing slightly to 33% in the third quarter. That means that two-thirds of Yahoos have no confidence in Bartz.

For a CEO who started with a 90% approval rating shortly after she took the reins in the second quarter of 2009, that’s got to be a disheartening change. … As a point of comparison, Steve Jobs had a 97% approval rating among Apple employees before he announced he was stepping out of the CEO role in August.

Rachel King at ZDNet sums up Bartz's rocky tenure:

Being a tech heavyweight veteran when hired, Bartz was brought in as CEO in 2009 to replace co-founder and then CEO Jerry Yang after he resigned in 2008. But her tenure has not brought much direction and success for Yahoo in the last few years. Revenue and earnings continue to go up and down, and more towards the latter. Yahoo’s brand has also become fuzzy as Bartz announced a shift towards being a digital media leader with original content earlier this year.

Update: Business Insider's Nicolas Carlson got his hands on the internal memo that Yahoo's board sent out to the entire staff after Bartz's dismissal.

From: Jerry Yang [redacted]
Sent: Tuesday, September 06, 2011 8:37 PM
To: [redacted]
Subject: today's news

All –

Moments ago we announced a leadership reorganization under which Tim Morse has been appointed interim Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately, replacing Carol Bartz, who has been removed by the Board from her role as Chief Executive Officer.

We want to thank Carol for her service to Yahoo! during a critical time of transition in the Company’s history, and against a very challenging macro-economic backdrop.  We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.  In the meantime, we are commencing a search for a permanent Chief Executive Officer and expect to engage the services of a nationally recognized executive search firm to help us identify candidates for the position as expeditiously as possible.

We believe Tim is an excellent choice to serve in this interim role and lead the Company.  As most of you know, he has a very strong operational and financial background and will serve as an excellent chief executive and guiding voice for Yahoo!.

The Board has also named key senior Yahoo! executives to a newly formed Executive Leadership Council (ELC) tasked with supporting Tim in managing the Company’s day-to-day operations until a permanent chief executive is appointed.  We have great confidence in Tim’s abilities and in those of the other executives who have been named to the ELC.  In addition to Tim, who will also continue in his role as Chief Financial Officer of Yahoo!, the ELC will consist of Michael Callahan, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary; Blake Irving, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer; Ross Levinsohn, Executive Vice President, Americas; Rich Riley, Senior Vice President & MD, EMEA Region; and Rose Tsou, Senior Vice President, APAC Region.  David Filo and Jerry Yang will each continue as Chief Yahoo and will provide counsel to Tim and the ELC.

In addition, the ELC will support a comprehensive strategic review that the Board has initiated to position the Company for future growth.  We are confident that we have talented teams in place and see enormous opportunities on which Yahoo! can capitalize, and right now we are focused on leveraging the Company’s leadership and current business assets and platforms to execute against these.  We fully intend to return the Company to a path of robust growth and industry-leading innovation.  We are committed to exploring and evaluating possibilities and opportunities that will put Yahoo! on a trajectory for growth.

Thanks to your hard work and dedication, we have created something extraordinary here at Yahoo!. These changes will position us for future growth and will enable Yahoo! to continue building on our success.

We don’t want to lose any of our momentum during this time, and we know we can count on all of you to continue doing your jobs to the best of your abilities.  We should all remain focused on delivering the high level of service and innovation that our customers, advertisers and partners have come to expect from us.

In case you have not already seen it, please look over the press release we just issued<>.  We hope you will join us at an all-hands meeting tomorrow, where Tim, the ELC, David and Jerry will be happy to answer any questions (look for the invite shortly).

As you might expect, these developments may generate considerable interest from the media.  If you are contacted by a reporter, please refer them to our corporate communications team.

We want to thank you again for your commitment to Yahoo! and continued hard work.  We appreciate all you do.

David Filo Co-founder and Chief Yahoo

Jerry Yang, Co-founder and Chief Yahoo

Roy Bostock, Chairman of the Yahoo! Board of Directors

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.