Yahoo CEO Bartz Fired In Phone Call From Chairman

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CEO Carol Bartz has been supplanted by CFO Tim Morse as troubled Yahoo starts its search for a replacement

Yahoo, the Internet Web services pioneer beset with financial troubles for the better part of the last decade, made a change in leadership with its board of directors removing Carol Bartz from her role as CEO, apparently in a phone call, and naming chief financial officer Tim Morse in her place as interim CEO.

The news, broken by Kara Swisher at AllThingsD, was probably not a surprise to many IT industry observers, although Bartz had only been in the position for about two-and-a-half years.

A Troubled Tenure

Bartz was recruited from Autodesk to take over the Yahoo CEO job from co-founder Jerry Yang in January 2009. It is well known inside and outside Yahoo that Bartz has had a rocky time as the head of the flailing Internet company which has been overtaken in many markets by second generation companies, such as Google.

In 2008, Yahoo repelled a takeover by Microsoft but that spawned the Microsoft Bing search engine in 2009, shortly after Bartz (pictured) was appointed. Bing was formed from Microsoft Live Search and overtook Yahoo within days of its launch – but Bartz dismissed this as a temporary surge as users tried the new application.

This was not the case and within weeks Yahoo hitched itself to Bing in a mutual melding of technologies and shared services to compete with Google. Yahoo rebranded in September 2009 but this did little to improve its market position.

Bartz’ parting shot was to write the following farewell message to Yahoo’s employees:

To all,
I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s chairman of the board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.


This is the second announcement of a change at the CEO position at a major IT company in the last two weeks. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs announced his departure on 24 August.

It was also the third major news story in a month involving upheaval at long-established, leading IT companies. On 18 August, Hewlett-Packard revealed a strategic change in direction by dropping its personal computing and webOS hardware businesses and acquiring enterprise software provider Autonomy for $11 billion (£7bn).

Additional information added by Eric Doyle

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