Yahoo has fired its CEO Carol Bartz (over the phone, no less) and put Tim Morse, the company’s CFO, as interim CEO while the company begins another search for the CEO. This is reminiscent of what happened in 2008, when Jerry Yang was fired, and a search began for a CEO for the company. Bartz, previously the CEO of Autodesk, had joined the company in January 2009.
According to a statement from Yahoo, its board has also “named key senior Yahoo executives to a newly formed Executive Leadership Council tasked with supporting Morse in managing the Company’s day-to-day operations until a permanent chief executive is appointed, as well as supporting a comprehensive strategic review that the Board has initiated to position the Company for future growth.” The council includes
“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. The Co-founders of Yahoo!, David Filo and Jerry Yang, will each continue as Chief Yahoo and will provide counsel to Tim and the Executive Leadership Council.”
What Happens To India?
At the time that Bartz took over, Yahoo India was without a Managing Director – and it had been a year and a half since George Zacharias had left – and for a company positioning itself as a media company, there wasn’t an Editor, only an Audience head. India didn’t appear to be on the radar, but with Bartz coming on board at the helm at Yahoo, Arun Tadanki joining as MD of Yahoo India, and Prem Panicker joining as Managing Editor, there appears to have been a considerable shift in focus towards the Indian market: India was one of the countries where Yahoo’s upgraded social homepage was first introduced, an experiment with providing opinionated content began.
Since then, Yahoo has launched its Celeb site OMG in the country, launched an Education site, a lifestyle segment, full movie streaming via movieplex, and interestingly, India was the first country where the new interface for Yahoo News was first rolled out. Most importantly, the company intends to expand content in six regional languages this year.
So what happens with a change at the top? There probably won’t be as much of an impact as there was in 2008-09, when Yang was fired, largely because there was a leadership vacuum in India at the local level, focused largely on maintaining the status quo. Uncertainty at Yahoo global will be not be unnoticed within the company, especially if there are sweeping changes in direction imposed by Yahoo global, but it is unlikely that there will be any changes in the status quo until a new Yahoo CEO takes over. Companies this large are typically slow to move, in any case.